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Kylie 17th Jul 2018 Lifestyle Enrichment Carer
Hi everyone. I’ve just started working as an RAO in a 90 bed facility, just taken over by a new company. While management have asked for fresh ideas and to integrate the Montessori Approach, I’m having a little trouble with approx 5-6 residents who are resistant to change and are almost the leaders of the room - the others seem to follow. So if it’s an activity that may be in a different area, which is a necessity, there is no way to budge How do I gently integrate a new way of activities and encourage them to participate, which will in turn encourage the others to follow?
Morgan 19th Jul 2018 Activity Director
I am not sure if this will help you or not but here is what I do when a couple of my residents are stubborn and reluctant to move from the normal, I have to put my foot down and be stubborn too. I hate to say it, but sometimes thats what has to happen because even after I explain a change, or why something is happening, they still will not budge.

Here is an example: Last month at my facility we had a Tornado Warning and were required to go to our storm/severe weather areas. This was on a Tuesday afternoon, during Bingo, which is played in a room lined with windows, so obviously we had to move. It was right in the middle of bingo, so instead of cancelling, I decided to set up a little bingo parlor in the part of the building we will be safe. I did this with help and collaboration from other staff members. After we had that all set up (it took a whole of 5 minutes) I went into the room they were playing bingo and announced that due to severe weather incoming, we would be moving to the safe area where I had set up bingo. One VERY vocal and VERY stubborn gentleman was raising a fuss and refusing to move, so I had to put my foot down and tell him that the numbers were going to be called in the other area, and bingo would commence in there. He did not have to come if he did not want, but bingo was going to be moving. All of the other residents had no problem grabbing their cards and we paraded down to the safe part of the building. Sure enough, he came too because he did not want to miss out on bingo.

I am not sure if thats what the right thing to do in the situation was, but my residents were in danger and I saw no other choice.
Kylie 19th Jul 2018 Lifestyle Enrichment Carer
Thankyou so much for replying Morgan. Absolutely you did the right thing considering the circumstances Morgan. Well done to you for handling it so well. Safety is paramount. I’m considering holding a staff meeting to discuss it with all RAO’s in the facility. It’s quite a large nursing home in space, so we have approx 6 RAO’s on staff at any given time. Two for each area. But perhaps if we can all get on board with a solution, then these residents may follow eventually. I’m just not sure what the solution is on this one. I don’t mind being firm when it comes to safety, but I Need to find solutions to present to management so they’ll be behind us as well.
Molly 20th Jul 2018 Activity Professional & Writer
Hi Kylie! Are you able to discuss this with the residents (and they can understand)? Technically, we are there for them so they should be able to choose when and where activities take place. But if the change benefits the many and in your case, it sounds like it does maybe having a conversation with the five and asking them to help the other residents in the transition may help them feel more in control with the change.

I agree with Morgan, too, their safety should always take priority and sometimes you just have to put safety first!
Solange 20th Jul 2018 Diversional Therapist
Hi Kylie, is there a way for you to put the leaders‘ in charge’? Of course, you would be still around for supervision and assistance. If ‘leaders’ have an important role to play they are often very gracious. You can engage their ‘help’ in running an activity. For instance, a 'Collage' could have them assisting their peers and you.

Collage Activity - a lovely art project for people with dementia.

- Any colour cardboard or any sturdy paper
- PVA glue and brushes
- Miscellaneous small art material: ribbons, shells, bottle tops, wallpaper, cork, dried flower, magazines, pebbles, photographs, etc, etc.

Role of 'leaders':
- Cutting cardboards to size for background of projects
- Searching and cutting out pictures from magazines, old calendars
- Sorting beads/bottle tops, and any other items by size/ color
- Assisting peers with gluing when needed
- Removing projects for drying safely
- Chatting, offering opinions and reminiscing about the project

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