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Sharon 30th Mar 2019 Activity Coordinator
I would greatly appreciate some feedback on how to do activities with residents of different levels of abilities.
Some are able to communicate and others not much at all. Bingo, Ring Toss and Balloon toss seems to be the only thing they really enjoy.
Some sleep thru all of our events.
I am wondering if it would be better to divide them up into group and give each group activities based on their mental and physical abilities.
I don't want to frustrate them and I do want to challenge them.

Any thoughts???
Solange 30th Mar 2019 Diversional Therapist
Hi Sharon, yes, it is better to divide the group into smaller groups of three to four people. This way you can provide suitable activities that will stimulate and satisfy them: air-drying modeling clay, singing, proverbs, cutting pictures from magazines and old calendars for posters (with safety scissors).
Susan 31st Mar 2019 Activity Director
Hi Sharon
This is a fairly typical situation because your residents are there for different reasons and abilities can vary greatly
Here are some ideas I had for Caroline that are specially good low functioning groups
Unless you can divide yourself it's probably easier to do a group that can accommodate most residents
For example during bingo you can play but a bingo partnering up higher and lower functioning residents and saying that if one of the players win then they all win
I like exercise groups where are you can go around and help those having trouble
Here is an article I wrote about that
I like playing card games also
Dice games are games that can be adapted to meet the needs of most of your residents
Bunco is a fun game that takes no skill and can be adapted to make the need most groups
What about reading a short story to a group make sure that it's very interactive
You can ask higher functioning residents what a person who is nonverbal might be thinking or feeling
Say tell me what you think about what I just read do it often so people pay attention and our part of the group
Also you can read these comments and see if that helps

This is a lot of information for you so try these things and if you need more help let us know
Elisa 4th Apr 2019 Senior Activity Coordinator
Hi Sharon,

I am of the opinion that dividing groups into interests and ability is indispensable for an activity program to be effective.

However, when I say dividing, I don't necessarily mean into separate rooms if the room you are located is big enough.

I used to work in a dementia specific unit where most of the residents sat in the sitting room. When I started working there all the seats were against the walls in a big circle with the TV as the focal point. We rearranged the chairs and the TV sothere were three separate areas. The TV went to a corner, the furthest from the door, with some seats around it. Then there were some clusters of 2 to 4 chairs around tea tables. Finally, there a smaller semicircle of chairs near the door. We used a smart tv so the area near the tv was audiovisual stimulation for those less able (old music, animal videos, landscapes, baby videos, colours and shapes, guided meditation, etc.), the small clusters around tables were for people who could do things to entertain themselves, magazines, jigsaws, pen and paper puzzles, colouring, etc. And the semicircle was for the more social who enjoyed group activities. I divided my time between and sometimes would ask people to move to different seats if i knew they would enjoy something I was doing in the group, for example a lady who was almost never able to do things in groups but who knew all the proverbs.

I hope this helps you
Kelly 5th Apr 2019
Hi Sharon , Do you complete assessments with your care plans for abilities?
I use a tool called the Poole activity level (PAL) it assesses residents into 4 groups dependent on abilities and activity level. I then use this to write each residents care plan as it explains each level and what type of activity is good for that level. Of course I use the residents life stories as well to ensure the care plans are personal centered.
Research Jackie Poole
Sharon 5th Apr 2019 Activity Coordinator
Elisa, thanks for your comments. One of the problems I have is limited space. We have rooms that are being used for too many different functions. I am hoping to be able to re-arrange one of the rooms that would be bigger and work better for our activities.
thanks again for your thoughts.
God bless
Sharon 5th Apr 2019 Activity Coordinator
Kelly, thanks. I will look into the PAL assessment.

thanks again
God bless
Sharon 5th Apr 2019 Activity Coordinator
Susan, thank you so much for all the great information. I've looked at some of it and it's great.

Thanks again
God bless
Sharon 5th Apr 2019 Activity Coordinator
Solange, thanks for your comments. I plan to make some changes.

God bless
Jean 7th Apr 2019 Activities Coordinator
I have used PAL assessment tool also and found it really helpful as family members and the staff often over estimate the ability of the resident and then activity becomes stressful
Sharon 8th Apr 2019 Activities Director
I am Sharon too. Doing an activity with people of different levels takes a bit of preparation. The same activity can work on different levels if you know what you expect from the activity. Think about the most someone can do and least someone can do and a few steps in between. If we are doing a project , for example, some people will be able to follow instructions and complete all the steps. Others will try to do some parts but not others, and some people will maybe only pick up a brush or pen and draw a simple shape. Its all good. Because they are all good results. Because the goal is engagement and a little fun. Not the product.
You can feel pretty clever about thinking on different levels
Susan 8th Apr 2019 Activity Director
Very helpful comments everyone I have never heard of PAL
I agree with Sharon that you can do a project and have each resident do what they are able
Yes and it's not the product it's the process

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