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Kathy 24th Sep 2017 Activities Officer
Hi there, I am working in a residential facility with residents who 90% of them are in princess chairs, or wheelchairs. They have been use to not doing anything meaningful so have become very institutionalised. I am trying so hard to implement change and fun into the place but having a hard time as they are either not interested or not able to participate. I have come to the conclusion that I need to focus on the senses to try and bring some enjoyment into their days but am at a standstill on what to do. We do cooking and I have tried art but that caters for those who are able to do it but not for the residents who are not able to due to their limitations. They sleep all day. There has to be something I can do to try and make their day better. Any suggestions on games activities etc etc
Susan 25th Sep 2017 Activity Director
Here is a link to some great sensory ideas

We had a group similar to what you are describing. I think

There are mixed opinions as to whether you should arouse sleeping residents. You should go with what your boss and director of nurses say.

Let's assume you should try to arouse them.
Understand that it is a lot of work. You need to be enthusiastic complimentary and excited about what it is you are doing. In most cases, you are the residents' voice. So knowing the resident' history is important
I like to start with a simple physical activity like table ball with music in the background
Cheer for every resident action
You may have to do hand over hand cueing.

Then... tell me more about resident backgrounds so I can suggest what to do after that.????

I Ilke a sing-along. Again initially you may have to do most of the singing. Maybe you can help the residents clap to the music as you sing.
I also like simple card games like war or 21 where you are the facilitator for the residents. You can give a commentary about the action in the game

Like I said it takes a lot of energy on your part.
Kathy 25th Sep 2017 Activities Officer
Hi Susan,
Thankyou for the reply. It is really helpful. The residents in princess chairs have either had strokes or are not able to use their hands at all. I do feel like I am failing in every sense of the job. there is a lot going on at work and with no help from carers it is becoming harder and harder to stay positive. I have to remember I am there for them to make their days meaningful
Solange 26th Sep 2017 Diversional Therapist
Unfortunately, Kathy, some clients are hard to motivate for many reasons, and gathering them into groups for activities is a real challenge. Observe if the clients ‘doing nothing’ are happy or sad (depressed). If they are happy, don’t worry, they have earned the right to ‘do nothing’ and we should respect that. However, if they seem sad it should be investigated. Depression is prevalent in long-term care. You probably would fare better if you did one-on-one visits, and if you don’t have the time, seek volunteers to read something meaningful to them, take them for a stroll outdoors, give them a hand massage, look at photos together, toss a ball, sort poker chips, string beads, fold napkins, sing songs.
Pat 28th Sep 2017 Owner/Director
hello Kathy,
yes, I-1s is your best bet. Just sitting and talking while hand massage is a gift we all need. Fortunately we have a wonderful volunteer who is able to support us in this area. I encourage them to share there interest which is a stepping stone into what ever may lie ahead.
Group settings could be an issue with individuals. eg: noise levels, congestion, are they afraid? There is so much information we need to learn. hope this can help you in some way.
Give yourself a pat on the back. you are doing a great job.

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