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Karen 7th Jun 2017 Activities Co-ordinator
Firstly I would like to say thank you for all the ideas and resources. I have recently started doing activities in a home for Dementia residents in England most of whom have very little cognitive ability and some who are end of life. Plus I currently have very little resources so I am having to start from scratch not just with equipment, ideas but encouraging the staff and residents in supporting the activities. Management have been supportive and helpful but it is a long process with such diverse levels of residents who have not had much social interaction. How can I get everything together quicker as I feel I am supporting individuals but with 40 residents lots of them are still being left with no stimulation and I am feeling I should be doing more. Any help or advise would be very welcome. Thank you.
Susan 8th Jun 2017 Activity Director
I always had one to one interactions within a group activity. With such a diverse group, it is hard to have everyone participate unless you
walk around the group making eye contact so you get each person's attention
address each person by name
have an activity that most everyone can participate in like a sing along
but what I usually do is play name that tune and here is how
After the group is assembled, make sure to greet everyone. Tell your audience how happy you are that they are there. Greet each person by name. Remember you need to be enthusiastic about what you are doing

Now you are ready to start the activity

Instead of playing one or two notes or playing the game like hangman, (You could play these ways as well), you say the first word of the song title. See if anyone can finish the title. If not, say the second word of the title and so on until someone gets the title. If they are having a hard time, give other hints. To allow the meek resident a chance, ask the other members in the group to give the meek person a chance to name the song. Even if someone else shouts out the title, still ask the shy individual to say the title of the song. Be extremely complimentary to this person, as well, to boost his/her confidence.

After the song title is guessed, ask, who can sing it. Sometimes we only sing the first line. Sometimes we butcher the song, but then we have a good laugh.

Continue playing the game in this manner, singing the familiar songs, or singing them with a CD, for the allotted time period. I usually do it for about an hour

Throw in a little trivia if there is a lull in the action. For example, if the song is about summer, I ask the participants to tell me their favorite season and why they like that season. I always tell the story of how I hate winter.

If they are nonverbal, you can say the answer for them. However before saying the title, say, I can tell by (name of participant)’s smile that she thinks the title is (whatever the song title is). or you can ask a higher functioning resident what he thinks the non verbal resident is thinking
Then you might want to gently squeeze this person’s hand or give him/her a hug
I just go with the flow. Thus, the group is different every time.

Another good game is a dice game called one
We have played a similar game using just one die.
Each person gets a turn rolling the die until he gets a one or chooses to stop
We add up the numbers rolled each person gets
If you want to have a winner, the one with the most points at the end of the round wins.

What is so good about this game is, that it is good for a group with mixed mental and physical abilities. You can have some group members help other group members.

It is great as a long or short activity

I hope this helps

Susan 9th Jun 2017 Activity Director
Check out Cathy's comment on Liz's post. Great idea for a collage
Let me know if you need more help
Kim 13th Jun 2017
In our facility we use a program called "sonas" that is used at 4pm daily with as many of the residents all together that is possible in a circle. We sing..... Hello everyone how are you, hello everyone how are you, hello everyone how are you, how are you today. Then individually go around to each person singing, hello John how are you, hello Gwen how are you ( continue until each person has has been welcomed).. and shake their hand and make direct eye contact with each person in the circle, finishing with a big "how are you today" sometimes we bow and curtsey in the middle of the circle. Then we do a segment to music (dancing with those who are willing) can be in a wheelchair, no restrictions, then a sing a long to a common song, we use "she'll be coming round the mountain when she comes" great song for interaction and can use handmotions and noises etc. Then we do a section of proverbs etc "the early bird catches (staff say this bit) then residents all say "the worm", "A friend in need is a"... "friend indeed" etc etc. Then a music session where you hand around a basket with musical instruments for them to choose.. ie maracas, triangle, drum, tambourine, castanets and everyone makes as much noise as possible to background music, usually something lively. Next is a peaceful reflective time and a plate of fresh cut up fruit segments is passed around which is classed as sharing time, sharing and taking food with others. Last finishes up with aromatherapy with everyone having a drop of either lavender, rose or even just plain sorbolene and they rub into their hands while listening to relaxation/meditation music. Finish with a song "Now it's time to go and we must say goodbye, good bye, good bye, good bye, until we meet again. This is wonderfully relaxing and makes for a more manageable meal time afterwards.
Dee 15th Apr 2021 Leisure & Lifestyle Coordinator
Hi. I am looking for the Sonas program but I'm having trouble accessing it. Can anyone tell me where I can purchase one from?
Susan 16th Apr 2021 Activity Director
Hi Kim
Thank you for sharing this it sounds great

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