Blog Post Published April 2009

Changed Profile of Residential Aged Care

I assume that by now everybody in our industry has noticed that there has been a change in the profile of residents going into care in the past few years. There are many factors to this change; one of them is the generous support of governmental programs assisting caregivers and elderly citizens.

That means that people being placed in aged care facilities are older, often with multiple medical needs. The implication for Recreation Therapists and other health staff is that this new profile of residents makes participation, cooperation and compliance so much harder to achieve. If you work in a high care facility it is even harder.

The best way I found to seek engagement from participants in any activity is to have small groups to start with. Four to six people are easier to encourage and enthuse in my experience. Participants have the advantage of hearing you better, to have speedy assistance when needed and to have the coziness and the privacy only small groups can offer.

What are your thoughts? Are you successful with small groups?


Lauretta Kaldor 5th May 2009 Diversional Therapist


The changing role of recreation staff in aged care facilities has definatley changed in the 25 years I have worked in this industry. Small group therapy/one-on-one is the only way intervetions that promote quality of life experiences for people who have major barriers to leisure can be succesful. Let us hope that the powers that be recognise the changing role of the recreation staff and see that they have approrite educaton. Many people who manage to stay in the community now may attend respite day care- staff there often need help to run good programs such as your low care suggestions.Congratulations on a great site.
Jen Freeman 6th Apr 2009 DT


Yes I totally agree Solange. Within high care the need for individual or very small group activities and therapy is becoming a daily essential. Sensory enrichment, therapeutic touch and positioning -the DT needs to be very close to the resident/s to maintain their focus. Larger group activities can become a waste of energy and cause stress for everybody if several residents need 100% attention otherwise they wander off or start doing something else and their attention is lost.

Small group activities and 1:1 with an individual are much more rewarding and provide opportunities for them to have enough time, space and encouragement to open up and moments for what i call "awakenings". Most of my activities are with one person at a time, or very small groups such as 3-4 people. And i feel that much more is achieved esp person centred approaches. I also find that i enjoy the activities much more as well!

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