Forum Discussion

Ask questions, share ideas and support one another.

Sally 11th Mar 2020 Marketing
Hello! So in light of the recent virus outbreak, we are taking extra precautions to keep our residents healthy. Unfortunately, one of the most important steps is to try to eliminate as much public gathering as possible, and this really affects activities. Let's brainstorm some ideas to keep things fun for the folks during this difficult time.
Some ideas we have: dropping off a care package with colored pencils, and coloring pages, word searches and puzzles and every day dropping off new sheets
Starting a pen-pal group - maybe giving each resident an anonymous resident to write a letter to?
Solange 11th Mar 2020 Diversional Therapist
Hi Sally, great ideas! I may add a few more. Residents can cut out pictures of old calendars or suitable photos from family members to make bookmarks as gifts.
Also, they may talk on Skype with friends and relatives, sort out clutter in closets and drawers, play Solitaire, and unravel an old wool pullover to recycle in winter. The men could indulge in making paper airplanes, doing Spot the Differences, listening to a podcast of their interest, or’ Where is Wally’ type of activities.

WENDY 11th Mar 2020 Activity Manager
Hi!!! I can relate to this issue. I basically in a lock down.. I need ideas as well since I can conduct big activities mostly 1 to 1... I will do activity pocket with word search, color pencil, adult coloring, and I though about BINGO I will do a simple bingo such as basic color their can match we announced through the intercom and with crayons their will market, something simple. I will also going to help them if their want to send a card to the love one their can create with assistance of course since family are not allow. Sally that's a great idea writing letter. I also will do collage with them. But mostly I will conduct my activity in the Tv. But we need help.
Susan 11th Mar 2020 Activity Director
Are you talking about inside a nursing home or are you talking about the elderly living at home
I like the idea of dropping off care packages to folks living at home
You can also make packages for residents in side the nursing home to give them something to do
Nother idea for inside the nursing home is to have small group activities such as trivia are reminiscing
Sally 12th Mar 2020 Marketing
Wendy, those are great ideas about making cards to send loved ones! Remember this generation used to write letters - lets bring that back :)! Dropping off cards and/or stationary and mailing it for our residents is great idea and how about this..... we are sending emails to families to update them - how about we ask families to start mailing cards letters back - how great would that be.

I also like your idea about bingo through the intercom!

More ideas!!!!
Ann Marie 12th Mar 2020 lifestyle coordinator
I like the idea of one on one foot massages, and giving a lovely tactile experience to residents when they are feeling down. I also like the idea of regularly taking around an activities trolley, filled with resources, such as books and magazines, colouring kits and knitting supplies, quiz sheets and crosswords, and a supply of cds that each resident can choose. important to remember that not all residents can do craft or write cohesively, so perhaps have a small hand massage kit on the trolley too.
Jean 15th Mar 2020 Activities Coordinator
SPRING PROJECT I have folded some coloured paper, used a template of a large 'daisy' type flower to draw on them and will ask residents to choose one to cut out. The next step will be to put their name in the centre of each one on the outside, ask them to write the names of all the 'things' that they love inside eg family tea sunshine. (they open like cards) We will then mount them along a wall to look like a garden in full bloom. I am hoping that it will give them an opportunity to focus on the positives in their lives and It is an opportunity for the residents to give something back to family and friends that visit if they have included their names on the on the inside and the visitors see it.
Deborah 17th Mar 2020 Lifestyle Co-Ordinator
Looking for suggestions for lock down in a nursing home want to give each resident a package
so they can do things in their rooms
Susan 18th Mar 2020 Activity Director
Hi Deborah
There are some great ideas listed here from others who have read this post and forum
such as ideas suggested by Wendy
Jodie 21st Mar 2020 Acting RAO
Looking forward to reading more.
Jodie 22nd Mar 2020 Acting RAO
Jean do you have a template of what your daisy looks like as it sounds fabulous
Susan 23rd Mar 2020 Activity Director
Hi Jodi
I hope Jean can help you out
This may help also
Jean 23rd Mar 2020 Activities Coordinator
Jodie it is a simple '60's style' daisy I'm an not very good with technology but will try to find someone who will help me to put a picture and or template on this site. Today I did a basket full of them and the residents loved doing it.
Susan 23rd Mar 2020 Activity Director
Thank you Jean
Jodie 23rd Mar 2020 Acting RAO
Thanks Jean,
looking forward to some photos and tips to brighten up our residents days. I have already seen the impact this is having on some of our residents and it’s heartbreaking. Now more than ever we need to step up and be there for them. I’m Looking forward to seeing everyone’s new ideas.

I’m putting together display folders for each resident with pictures of their loved ones, events they have attended, things they have been doing & more.
We already have a Pen Pal program with our local school, which continued today (letters were dropped off) but with the closures this may need to pause. So in light of that I will be implementing a regular mail service between family members and residents. This will hopefully stimulate their minds, promote happiness and keep families connected. These can be simple cards or letters either way they will be staying connected to loved ones.
I will be looking into setting up a Skype account to help with face to face communication (from a distance).

As most of our external services have been postponed I have contacted contacted local parishes and some are going online. Which will hopefully provide the religious connection.
So this may be something happening in your area.
We will be implementing smaller groups with different stations.

Looking at any suggestions ❤️

Live smart and stay safe.
Julianne 23rd Mar 2020 diversional therapist
I’m am making up booklets of quizzes, short stories, colouring in, word search games & other items of interest to certain residents.
Taking a library trolley around to Residents rooms.
Lending DVD & CD to Residents to watch or listen to in there room.
Writing letters to friends overseas, family & friends with a picture of Resident inside.
Doing exercises in Residents rooms 1-1, I have found that this is all working & keeping everyone happy.
I took a video of a husband & wife on there I phone, this was very special. As asked them question about there life together, all smiles and laughter.Extremely precious moment residents wife was thrilled to bits.
Good luck everyone during this hard time.

Alison 24th Mar 2020 Life Enrichment Director
All great ideas folks. At our home, we will shortly being implementing zoom program on laptops, we have sent out a timeslot schedule for residents families to choose 3 time slots that would work best for them. We have a long term side and retirement approx. 80 residents all together so it is possible. We have monthly programs already with travelling ice cream cart, and a travelling activity cart already. We will be looking into programs online with drawing programs, and paint night on line also.
Susan 24th Mar 2020 Activity Director
You have great ideas
I don’t know how many Windows you have at your facility but If there is enough observations space Maybe you could have entertainers performing on the outside of your facility
Susan 24th Mar 2020 Activity Director
I especially liked you taking videos of a resident and his wife
Maybe others could do the same
Of course if someone has a smart phone you could forward the video that you took to them
Great idea Julianne thank you
Susan 24th Mar 2020 Activity Director
Great ideas Alison
Just be careful of infection control when you have traveling cart
Thank you for sharing
Jan 25th Mar 2020 Activity Director
Great ideas! But I am struggling with ideas for our Dementia residents. I cannot get them together for music, bingo, exercise or any group activity. I have been doing things like foot massages, reading stories, passing out puzzle books. I need a new ideas please!
Susan 25th Mar 2020 Activity Director
Hi Jan
Have you read these articles because there are many good ideas

I especially like hallway games where you sit in the hallway and conduct the activity
You have to make sure the resident does not come out of his room
You could call each resident in the hallway first to tell them the activity is coming up and that they must stay in their room to play
You could also have each person make a sign are you could have premade and then they could decorated the sign might say
You need to stay in your room sorry for the inconvenience
Then hang it up in the room so they are reminded they cannot leave the room
Kathleen 25th Mar 2020 Activity Assistant
Regarding coronavirus outbreak: We are located in Baltimore, Maryland. Our Governor has placed many restrictions on the community as a whole to slow the progress of the virus. My retirement community has been on lockdown for a week now. I work in the memory care section and our residents are confined to their rooms- everything is one-on-one. We do bring them out for individual hallway walks, just one person at a time. We can also walk outside in our gated patio. I can set up a few of our residents with some paint and a coloring page. Some of them enjoy "playing basketball" while we maintain the 6 feet social distance requirement. It's easy to win the basketball net and ball down in between rooms. I have prayed with individuals and read shortened versions of Bible stories. There is always poems and short stories to read. Normally many of our residents enjoy reading out loud in a group, but they don't seem to want to read in a one-to-one situation . Drop off uplifting stories or current events. With only one exception, our residents seem to enjoy talking when I visit. Most of them are big conversationists. Most of them are not interested in doing word games/puzzles on their own. We are used to doing this in group. Flower (artificial) arranging is always a possibility. They can write cards to the military or their families. We have a small table set up in one resident's room so she can work on jigsaw puzzles. She is a true jigsaw fanatic! For the most part, our residents have remained in their rooms as required. We have a couple wanderers, but we have been able to keep them separated. However, by dinner time, we have a small group who start coming out into the hall. We have moved the chairs so they aren't close to each other. This gives them the most satisfaction and relief from boredom. Then they are ready for dinner and back in their rooms. As the weather gets warmer, we'll be able to take 3 or 4 outside to the patio. We have finally received a couple of iPads and are starting to use Face Time with the families- something we should have been doing for a few years. They miss their families and their families miss them, especially when it is their loved one's birthday.
Solange 25th Mar 2020 Diversional Therapist
Hi Jan, here are a few more ideas.a box full of fabric, all sizes and colours to separate.
a box full of different fabric texture for sensory feeling
Sorting by shape, and size (lids, large buttons)
Susan 26th Mar 2020 Activity Director
Hi Kathleen
Thank you for all your great information
It would be nice if they were like you do a hallway game where the residents sit by their doors and you could play bingo or those who like to read you could tell them that the other residents are at their doorway and they can hear you
I love the idea of a deck of cards because there are so many things you can do with it
You could buy a lot of decks because it fairly inexpensive
You don’t even have to give each resident a full deck
There are so many ways to match the card numbers colors highest to lowest lowest to highest etc.
I hope the residence are able to use the telephone and their family could call them or you could call them
Thank you for all you do and good luck
Hopefully things will get back to normal soon
Jan 27th Mar 2020 Activity Director
Thank you lots of ideas for me to try!
Louisa 29th Mar 2020
Something we did this afternoon was Mindfulness colouring, the residents commented how nice it was to do something that caused their brains to slow down and completely forget about the world.

Yesterday we had lots of fun making Tik Tok films
Susan 30th Mar 2020 Activity Director
Hi Louisa
This sounds wonderful
I do not know what type of coloring you are doing but mandalas are certainly very relaxing with that they create their own color one in
Of course at this time they would have to do them individually
Thank you for your feedback
Olwyn 16th Apr 2020 Diversional Therapist
@Alison Did you have a "how to" pdf to use zoom? If so could you please share it here? WE are thinking about using it also. So far we have mede use of our personal phones nd data and FB messenger. But zoom looks likea great app to use .
Susan 17th Apr 2020 Activity Director
Hi Alison
I never used zoom so I’m not sure I could help but I think you can show please reply to this
Thank you for this and for all you do

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