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Michelle 19th Jul 2018 Activity Coordinator
At work today I was talking with one of the senior carers about my job, she said she would't do my job as she thinks it would be really difficult as this is more of a nursing home than a residential home . I asked her what she meant and she said that most residents here don't have much capacity and are mostly dementia and aren't capable of taking part in activities .

I do agree that this is the case with the residents but surely these people still need motivation and one to one attention ? I just feel a little deflated today , sorry I don't mean to rant .
Molly 20th Jul 2018 Activity Professional & Writer
Michelle, thank you so much for sharing your story! What you do may be hard work but it is worthy work and truly needed. There are so many misconceptions about what we do in Activities, but I think we can all agree that our residents have so much love and joy left to give anyone who takes the time to spend quality time with YOU...knows this! I hope the women you spoke with have the opportunity to have one of these moments so she too can understand.
Solange 20th Jul 2018 Diversional Therapist
Hi Michelle, it is exactly because they are frail and needy that they deserve all our love, attention and understanding. If they were more functional they would probably be at home or living in a Retirement Village. Don't worry, we all feel deflated at times by comments made by colleagues who don't fully understand our roles. Keep on doing what you're doing, I'm sure you are a wonderful support for your residents.
Diane 20th Jul 2018 Physiotherapist Assistant
Hi Michelle
Motivation is the key word .. Some of my community clients state that they don’t do their home exercises but look forward to my visits. And engage well.. Also in aged care facilities I visit my residents and remind them that the program starts in 15 minutes .. this can be time consuming , but I always get a great turn out if I remind them.. My delema is that most enjoy the music I play but the odd one or two complain.
Michelle 21st Jul 2018
Thank you for all your replies and encouragement . I have to say that there is maybe a handful at the most who are mobile enough to walk to an activity , the staff are ran off their feet and do very little in the way of motivating the residents . I have often walked in and found them all sleeping and tried to motivate them myself I always manage a one to one with these residents but never a group activity . There is one group of 4 that I can engage with for a quiz or crafts and a conversation , but I honestly can say that all of the other residents benefit more from a one to one rather than group structured activities and this is purely down to their level of needs . I love doing one to ones as I feel I can totally engage with the person and really have some meaningful time with them , it's just really difficult to justify my job at times but I am new to this and I won't be giving up .
Kim 24th Jul 2018 Registered Nurse
music , singing, memory boards. watch them react and smile. then your job is done. there will always be nay Sayers about people with dementia but you will find the hidden spark and the joy will be yours.
Jean 31st Jul 2018 Activities Coordinator
I do quite a lot of one to one activities but have had great success with our 'balloon handball' and the residents that are sleeping in the chairs often wake up and get involved. I simply blow up a punching balloon, throw it to the residents and ask them to throw it back to me. its not long before they are stretching to reach it and laughing at me as I have to stretch to catch it. The only rule is that they have to be seated. This is a regular 30 minutes in the lounge before lunch every day. While we are playing I have a CD on.
Sue 23rd Aug 2018 Lifestyle Lead
Michelle I know exactly where you are coming from. I work at a nursing home and have the same issues as you. My problem is that Management seem to forget about the residents bed bound and stuck in their rooms. More interested in me being on the top floor with the Dementia residents. The individual time for the residents is so important even if it's 10 minutes. This is a difficult job for anyone and I think all of us that do it deserve a pat on the back for sticking with it.
Teri 24th Aug 2018 Lpn
I work in a memory care unit with residents with varying stages of dementia. I always include those residents who are non verbal and are not physically able to do much because they still have intact senses, smell, hearing, sight, etc. We use hand over hand techniques and I always try to include as many activities as I can that involve smells, music, and touch, like applying scented lotion to hands, playing soothing music at meals, aromatherapy using a diffuser and essential oils. I have seen nonverbal residents in late stages of dementia talk for the first time in months or sing because we reached them through non traditional methods. Not all activities have to be physical. sometimes it’s just putting some play dough in someone’s hand and letting them squeeze and enjoy the texture, or passing around different scents and letting residents try to guess what it is and letting them reminisce about what memories they trigger. We try to create and carry out our activities so it touches all levels of functioning in a meaningful way.
Darla 27th Aug 2018 Recreation and Rehab Manager

The other staff member would not do your job because she doesn't know how.

It takes special skill and planning and implementing programs for those we serve. Providing care and completing tasks every day is well suited for some people, however; providing motivation, making people happy, thinking of new creative ideas to engage takes special skill.

Golden Carers, " 15 Uplifting Activities for People Confined to Bed", and "Tips for One to One Visits with Seniors" are just 2 of many ideas you can access.

Golden Carers provides so much good information for programming we are fortunate to have a wonderful site that all Activity and Recreation people in the world can access.

Your role is VALUED and RESPECTED by others in your profession and job.

Hang in there,

Megan 29th Aug 2018 Life Enrichment Director
I agree with above comment on "balloon handball". Another fun one is to get a net with handles that everyone can hang on to and put colorful balls in the middle to toss up and down into the net. Takes no direction as they just do it naturally with one another, and it's always good for some laughs.

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