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Jean 18th May 2020 Activities Coordinator
I'm looking for advice, guidance or ideas to fill 1.5 hours from 4PM until mealtime at 5:30PM. We are a dementia home, the residents have lunch at 12:30 and afternoon tea at 3PM.
I run planned group activities between 2PM and 4PM but after this the environment in the lounge tends to become 'unsettled'. During this period the lounge is quite full/busy and can get a bit noisy, residents who have short attention spans and are not able to engage in planned or group activity begin to 'start looking for something' . They will often wander around in the lounge and interfere with other residents or other residents belongings (newspapers etc) Any contribution that you could make that would help me find a solution to settle people during this period would be welcome . Thank you.
Susan 18th May 2020 Activity Director
I like a sing-along because just about everyone can participate and it is easy
1.5 hours is probably too long for one sing-along
But you could sing for a half an hour
Then do household chores for half an hour such as folding clothes sorting socks or maybe setting the table
You could have busy boxes around for those who like to fiddle with things such as

The last half hour I could be sing sway and Clap
These are only suggestions try them out see you what works best for you
Let us know what you decide now
I always called this period of time late day fun
Jennifer 19th May 2020 Activity Director
Finding quieter late afternoon programs for a group can be difficult.
Familiar sing a longs are helpful then you could switch the music to a softer tone afterwards. Keep a variety of magazines or fun fidget items about the space for those who need to keep busy.
Maybe do a group walk in the hallway after your afternoon tea to look at and discuss artwork on your walls. A little disguised exercise helps nervous energy.
Try some easy trivia mixed with stories about the trivia question. Find or make your own trivia questions about the area you live in then add some stories related to the trivia to engage them. Hopefully the residents can relate or hear something that triggers their own memories and will share. Good luck and share what you find helps.
Jean 19th May 2020 Activities Coordinator
Thanks for your ideas Susan, I do have someone busy with sorting /pairing socks and a lady using the carpet sweeper to clean up as well as rummage packs etc that they will walk right past to go and pick up someones glasses or newspaper!!! Could you tell me more about sing sway and clap? It sounds interesting.
Melissa 19th May 2020 Recreation Therapy
Hi Jean My name is Gina and I too understand that hour of sundown or restlessness. One of the interventions i like to provide at that time is called suds and tubs. I put together warm soaked towels in a couple of tubs with a gentle non irritating soap and and get assistance from the busy bee helper to fill my basins. A little water at time will do to soak the towels and giving them a little twist to achieve nice warm moistened towels. You can have the helpers pre fold the towels to be placed in the basin. Keeping in mind all sanitary protocols. Have some relaxing music on for listening enjoyment and then pick up the used towels safely. Offer a nice simple demonstration, assist those who need help with the sensory integrating and touching the warm cloth. Its just is a nice way to present hand washing before a meal.
All the best,
Susan 19th May 2020 Activity Director
First thank you Jennifer and Melissa
Your ideas sound great
Of course it’s up to Jean as to what she wants to do
Susan 19th May 2020 Activity Director
Jean sing sway and clap can be what you want it to be
For example you can sing if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands
Usually in the song The participants clap their hands stamp their feet and shout horsy but you can add sway back-and-forth
I like to ask resident what else we can do such as wave to your neighbor
March in place etc. it’s totally up to you whatever the residents like to do
Carolyn 19th May 2020 Activities
Lately i have poetry to be great for the residents around this time. I find poems by Banjo Patterson or other similar poets and read the poems aloud. The residents who can follow the story of the poem love to listen to that aspect of it, and the residents who cannot follow the story simply enjoy the sound of someones voice. Also, if you add animation to your face and voice, this heightens the experience for them. A perfect poem is 'The Man From Snowy River'
Susan 20th May 2020 Activity Director
Hi Carolyn thank you for that information
I think poetry can be a great idea also and I am all in favor of animation in your face and voice because it adds so much to the reading and I think it makes the residents pay more attention to what we’re doing
Jean 20th May 2020 Activities Coordinator
Thank you for your support and ideas, they are all appreciated. I will work through ideas and with a bit of 'tweeking' here and there I feel sure that I can improve the afternoons.
Susan 20th May 2020 Activity Director
Let us know how it goes
Jean 25th May 2020 Activities Coordinator
I have reminded myself that as a dementia home there is probably not a complete solution to my problem however your comments have led me to think positive and strive for some success.
During this period 4PM to 5:30PM I will implementing a program of small groups and self- engagement that will include jigsaw puzzles, sorting, dominoes, pamper nails hand wash/massage, foot spa etc. We also have several tablets that have personalised programs & play lists on them that will be used with headphones. This will all culminate in a sing along.
I will use this medium and give you some feedback after some 'trials'
Thanks again
Susan 26th May 2020 Activity Director
This sounds like a good plan
As you know it is probably trial and error
Also it will probably change depending on the change in your residents
Thanks for sharing your plan
I hope it works
Susan 26th May 2020 Activity Director
This sounds like a good plan
As you know it is probably trial and error
Also it will probably change depending on the change in your residents
Thanks for sharing your plan
I hope it works
Jean 3rd Jun 2020 Activities Coordinator
Something is working as this time of day has really improved. I compiled a list of 'recommended' activities for this time for the carers & activity staff who are in the lounge to engage in and recommended the use of headphones on all tablets and music related activities. The lounge is now quieter and more peaceful. Thanks to all who shared ideas etc.
Susan 3rd Jun 2020 Activity Director
Wow that sounds great Jean hopefully will continue
If Not you can reevaluate again
Thanks for sharing I wish you continued success

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