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Sharon 20th May 2019 Actor
An RN mentioned to me that when it comes to gatherings to watch live entertainment (music, readers theatre, singing, etc) the residents get tired or bored after about 30-45 minutes. Is that time frame about correct?
Susan 21st May 2019 Activity Director
Hi Sharon
I have found that it depends on several things
The location
The time of day
The subject matter
The audience

I have done activities on the unit and also in the big activity room where residents have to be transported to
If I have to transport residents to the big room it takes a half an hour to get there and half an hour to get back so I like to have the performer be able to engage the audience for about an hour
I usually did these activities in the afternoon
If we did things on the unit and then I half an hour to 45 minutes is good I usually did these kinds of activities in the morning
It is best to interact with your audience so they become engaged in what is going on telling jokes that they understand and singing are two good ways to engage the audience
Most presidents can pay attention for an hour if the entertain or is it good and engaging Enthusiastic and tries to include everyone there even though with dementia
In the later stages of dementia the attention span is shorter but they can still be engaged if you find something that interests them
I know this is kind of a long answer but I hope it helps you
Sharon 21st May 2019 Actor
Thank you, Susan. All information is helpful and very much appreciated.

Elisa 25th May 2019 Senior Activity Coordinator
I agree with Susan that limits of time vary greatly.

I just wanted to say that attention is limited for everybody regardless of age or disability. Psychologists suggest sustained attention spans from 10min to 45min depending on who writes the paper.
This might be what the nurse was referring to.

Healthy adults can redirect attention easily, and thus keep atention long enough to watch a film or a concert. And will not be stopped by fatigue.
People who have cognitive, mental or physical problems have both difficulties redirecting their attention and will fatigue sooner.

I do limit the length of any formal group activity to an hour of actual running time (non counting getting everybody in and out) because I don't want to risk residents getting fatigue but not because they won't be able to.
To help residents redirect attention, with external provider is difficult to do something if they are not very engaging. But when I design the activity I deliberately introduce attention catching elements like
- a 1min add every 10-15min when watching a film.
-Dropping my book if I am reading during book club
-changing music genre during sing along.
Susan 26th May 2019 Activity Director
Thank you for this information it's very helpful
Molly 26th May 2019 Activity Professional & Writer
Hi Sharon,

Love this thread there so many great points!

We always have a range of participation in entertainment groups, which we typically schedule for an hour. Those that are engaged and listening will be attentive the whole time. Others nod in and out, and even some of these individuals are still tapping their toes. I also try to go around and dance with them while the music is playing to keep them engaged.

Also, as I'm sure you have found not all entertainers are entertaining, so it is essential to be mindful of the role of the entertainer has on participation.

Susan 27th May 2019 Activity Director
You are so right Molly
Sharon 27th May 2019 Actor
Thank you, Elisa. Since we want to bring smiles and happiness to residents, all information is very helpful. We would be engaging residents during the welcome at the beginning and also at the end. In the middle there will be a little something for them to watch, and hopefully enjoy.

Sharon 27th May 2019 Actor
Thank you, Molly. There will be 15-20 minutes at the end where music of old favorites is played on the piano, and I will be walking around, encouraging our audience and hopefully engaging them. There will be interaction during the opening 10 minutes, and then a 15 minute play that we hope will bring smiles and laughter for them. We are Master Actors who trained and worked with the late Burt Reynolds, so we do feel we can be entertaining. Of course, none of these times is written in stone. They could be a little longer--or a little shorter--depending on how our audience is receiving or engaging with us. A good entertainer is always aware of audience reaction.

Susan 28th May 2019 Activity Director
Sounds good
I hope this works for you

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