By Molly Wisniewski United States
I’ve worked in activities for over ten years, and I have found that there are some activities that you just have to have on the activities calendar!
While these activities may be staples, they can easily lose their charm for both you and the residents when done over a long period of time. Here are a few ways to spice up the classic activities on your calendar!
I know we all have mixed feelings about Bingo. But it is no doubt a staple in many activity programs. Here are a few ways to change it up from the traditional game of five in a row, across, or up and down.
Play B - N - O. An easy way to change up the game is to only play B - N - O. Which means there are 4 chances to win for 1 game. 1 winner for all the B’s, 1 winner for all the N’s, 1 winner for all the O’s, and then 1 winner for all 3!
Or Play the T, so to get Bingo the resident would have to get all across the top and down the middle.
Coffee chats are a fun way to get a group of residents together to drink coffee and have open conversations about the latest news or current happenings around the care home. But have you found that conversations sometimes wane?
Invite family members to email fun photos from a recent day trip or write a note to surprise their loved one. We started sharing notes and photos during our coffee chat group each week, residents have really enjoyed talking about their family.
We made the family members aware that pictures and letters would be shared, and asked them to simply let us know if they wanted certain information to be shared only with their loved one.
It is good to keep in mind that residents are only a click away from family members who live far away so video chats are a great way to connect too! As Activities staff, we have a wonderful opportunity to coordinate schedules and assist residents in connecting with their loved ones in a video chat.
Exercise is a popular activity that seems to attract everyone. Our facility has exercise on the calendar every morning at 10 a.m. and while the resident’s love it, there is only so much arm lifting and seat marching you can do in the week!
Instead, each day of the week we practice a different type of exercise.
I love armchair travel, it is a great way to explore and learn about a new place with the residents without ever having to leave the unit. It is also a good, “on the whim” activity for residents interested in doing something in between scheduled activities.
With a tablet handy you can go anywhere in the world! So, have the resident’s pick the place:
There are countless benefits to using music in activities, and there are countless ways to have a music group. Sing-alongs, inviting entertainers, or even a bit of dancing are all great ways to incorporate music into your programming.
But what about teaching the residents how to play an instrument? We invited a local high school orchestra teacher to come in once a month to teach the residents how to play. One of our residents picked it up well enough that they even played at the high school’s music concert!
It was a fun experience for everyone involved and a great way to keep our residents learning!
Changing up the way we offer activities can be a great way to be creative and innovative in our planning, and offers residents variety in their activity pursuits.
How have you adapted or changed a traditional activity? What are your staple activities that you must have on your calendar every month?