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Lauren 4th Jan 2020 Activities Coordinator
Hi, I’m an activity co-ordinator at a resedential home in the UK specialising in dementia care. I have only recently come in to this job and did a lot of more special activities over the Christmas period (Christmas party, pantomime, carol services, karaoke and that sort of thing) but with the New Year I’m starting to feel as though I’m falling in to a rut with regular activities: I don’t want to be repetitive and want to give the residents some variation so they don’t feel we are repeating the same games over and over. The residents at our facility have extremely varied levels of capability and understanding, and also seem to prefer activities which are simple but still engaging (they do not really have the patience for anything too complicated, and get easily frustrated with puzzles and quizzes). I’m also finding hard to find things to do to keep them active as we are a small home without a lot of extra space, and getting outside isn’t really an option in the winter months. Does anybody have any suggestions for activities and ideas that might help me keep out of this rut? Thanks!
Susan 4th Jan 2020 Activity Director
Try the suggestions mentioned here
If you need more help let me know
Kathleen 5th Jan 2020 Activity Assistant
Hello Lauren across the Pond. I also work in memory/dementia care. I use to feel pressured to offer different activities. What I have found is that the opposite may be more helpful to the residents. For instance, our nursing assistants may comment that that we do the same old exercise routines. Doing the same thing over and over can be helpful to residents with dementia. It can help them feel confident. I have been working at the same retirement community for almost 5 years. When I started this job, the residents were used to exercising with 2 senior exercise videos. After a year, I started doing my own routines with music I selected. I also found newer exercise videos. From time to time I use the older videos, and the residents who were familiar with those videos exercise as if they saw the video yesterday. Routine can be a good thing for this population.
1. They always love balloon volleyball.
2. Snowball fight with pom pom snowballs- either tossed acrosss to each other or a snowman target.
3. Sing alongs
4. I have many residents who enjoy group crossword puzzles or Jigsaw puzzles.
5. Laundry folding
6. Decorate remade cookies (I buy packaged cookies from our dollar store.
7. Make no-bake desserts or appetizers and serve them in the afternoon or the next day during a movie or sports event on TV.
8. Simple art activities. Paint seasonal trees: they can either paint their own tree truck or you can print a tree trunk for them to paint leaves on for the season. Winter trees would be bare, but have snow falling i the scene.
9. Have them critique an art poster.
10. Indoor walks if you have the space.
11. Make tissue or paper flowers.
12. Create monthly centerpieces with artificial flowers - again I get most of my flowers from the dollar store.
13. Some of my residents still love to read. I find poems, short stories or edit Bible stories for them to read out loud. We have short discussions, nothing heavy.
14. Pose a question. How hard was it to give up our driving license? What do you think of using medicinal marijuana. Do women belong in politics.
15. Adapted board games such as dominoes.
16. I go online and find good news stories and present them and ask their opinion.
17. We also do You Be the Judge scenarios.
There are so many activities to do. Think outside the box and adapt, adapt, adapt. Good luck and have fun!

Susan 5th Jan 2020 Activity Director
Wow Kathleen thank you for the suggestions they are terrific
JANETTE 7th Jan 2020 Manager
Assisting you from New Zealand
Our elderly clients absolutely love balloon tennis. Its applying their physical and mental needs.
Use either light weight badminton rackets (children's version), or swimming noodles, to hit balloons across the room.
Pass the verbal parcel is a hit. Make up a written story including all your residents/clients names, including directions to either bedrooms, lounge, kitchen, toilets, outside or anywhere in your facility that they may be familiar with, In the story use LEFT and RIGHT LOTS OF TIMES. Every time they hear LEFT or RIGHT, they have to pass the parcel to the person on their left or right.
Once the story is finished, whoever if left with the parcel, it belongs to them.
We get a weekly local newspaper. I write up a question from each page. Clients usually share the newspaper between two, (got to be the same paper for everyone of course), together they find the answer to my question. This encourages sharing, conversation and learning what is happening in their community.
Hope these activities help you, as they have me.
Susan 7th Jan 2020 Activity Director
Great suggestions Janette
Thank you
Lauren 9th Jan 2020 Activities Coordinator
Great suggestions thank you so much! Looking forward to trying some of them out!
Susan 9th Jan 2020 Activity Director
Good luck to Lauren
Let us know how things work out
Thank you

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