By actively involving residents in shaping the activities they engage in, you can create a more vibrant and engaging environment in your senior care facility.
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Activity programs are a vital component of providing quality care to seniors in long-term care facilities.

Prospective residents and their families often evaluate the quality of care based on various factors, including the facility's environment, services, living quarters, the demeanor of current residents, and, crucially, the Activities Program.

Addressing Lack of Engagement

One of the common challenges faced by Activity Coordinators is the lack of engagement among residents in the activities provided. This issue can arise due to several reasons:

Habitual Participation: Some residents might attend activities out of habit rather than genuine interest.

Social Gathering: Residents may congregate in recreation areas simply because it's a social hub, not necessarily because they are enthusiastic about the activities.

Boredom: Even if residents don't express it openly, they may be feeling bored with the existing activities.

Activity Imbalance: Giving too much importance to specific activities can lead to a decline in interest in others.

Lack of Enthusiasm: Staff conducting activities must display enthusiasm and energy to engage residents effectively.

Behavioral Factors: Behavioral disturbances in clients, such as apathy, can contribute to reduced engagement.

The Power of Surveys in Improving Activities

To address these issues and improve the quality of your Activity Program, consider conducting regular surveys of your residents. Annual or bi-annual surveys can provide valuable insights into resident preferences and needs. Two template surveys have been provided.

Activity Program Survey: A brief survey that can be quickly examined to gather essential feedback regarding the current activities.

Resident Lifestyle Survey: A more comprehensive survey that delves into various aspects of residents' lifestyles and preferences.

Optimizing Your Survey Process

Self-Reflection: Before conducting surveys, evaluate the relevance of your current activities to the needs of your clients. It might be time for a program makeover.

Client Involvement: Encourage resident involvement in the survey process. Relatives can assist their loved ones in providing feedback.

Survey Distribution: Disseminate the surveys through various channels, including in-person distribution, online forms, or through the facility newsletter.

Anonymity: Ensure that residents can provide feedback anonymously if they wish. This can lead to more honest responses.

Feedback Analysis: Carefully analyze the survey results to identify trends, areas for improvement, and resident preferences.

Action Plan: Develop an action plan based on the survey findings. Consider implementing changes and new activities that align with residents' interests and needs.

Continuous Improvement: Regularly review and adapt your Activity Program based on ongoing feedback and changing resident preferences.

Resident Involvement is Key

By actively involving residents in shaping the activities they engage in, you can create a more vibrant and engaging environment in your senior care facility.

Remember, the goal is to enhance the quality of life for your residents, and their input is invaluable in achieving that aim.

We'd love to hear your feedback!
Have you run a survey in the past? Were you able to gather useful data from it?

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Susan 16th May 2022 Activity Director
Can be difficult to get everyone involved
It is great that you are thinking of all your residents
First you need to know what the residents like to do and what they are capable of doing
I like to do one to one within a group or a mixed group
This article will be a big help to you

I also like music activities for a mixed group
Here are some more things to try
ave you tried these
If so, do you need help adapting and modifying them to your particular group?

Here are some other ideas
I always had one to one interactions within a group activity. With such a diverse group, it is hard to have everyone participate unless you
walk around the group making eye contact so you get each person's attention
address each person by name
have an activity that most everyone can participate in like a sing along
but what I usually do is play name that tune and here is how
After the group is assembled, make sure to greet everyone. Tell your audience how happy you are that they are there. Greet each person by name. Remember you need to be enthusiastic about what you are doing

Now you are ready to start the activity

Instead of playing one or two notes or playing the game like hangman, (You could play these ways as well), you say the first word of the song title. See if anyone can finish the title. If not, say the second word of the title and so on until someone gets the title. If they are having a hard time, give other hints. To allow the meek resident a chance, ask the other members in the group to give the meek person a chance to name the song. Even if someone else shouts out the title, still ask the shy individual to say the title of the song. Be extremely complimentary to this person, as well, to boost his/her confidence.

After the song title is guessed, ask, who can sing it. Sometimes we only sing the first line. Sometimes we butcher the song, but then we have a good laugh.

Continue playing the game in this manner, singing the familiar songs, or singing them with a CD, for the allotted time period. I usually do it for about an hour

Throw in a little trivia if there is a lull in the action. For example, if the song is about summer, I ask the participants to tell me their favorite season and why they like that season. I always tell the story of how I hate winter.

If they are nonverbal, you can say the answer for them. However before saying the title, say, I can tell by (name of participant)’s smile that she thinks the title is (whatever the song title is). or you can ask a higher functioning resident what he thinks the non verbal resident is thinking
Then you might want to gently squeeze this person’s hand or give him/her a hug
I just go with the flow. Thus, the group is different every time.

Another good game is a dice game called one
We have played a similar game using just one die.
Each person gets a turn rolling the die until he gets a one or chooses to stop
We add up the numbers rolled each person gets
If you want to have a winner, the one with the most points at the end of the round wins.

What is so good about this game is, that it is good for a group with mixed mental and physical abilities. You can have some group members help other group members.

It is great as a long or short activity
Antoinette 14th May 2022
Hi! I'm an activities lead on my nursing homes dementia unit. I am brand new to this department as I was doing CNA Work but felt so burned out, I needed the switch. My problem is how do I get all levels of dementia to interact and engage in an activity? I am at risk of loosing my position because I was told I am not getting everyone engaged in an activity. I am responsible for 43 Residents with dementia levels from beginning to near end stage. I am not a musically talented person and each time I set up stations some of my Residents "shop" the equipment and the tables are bare. I do crafts and a weekly tea party. Along with bowling and balloon toss. Friday is movie day and manicures. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Catherine Laub 21st Apr 2022
I am new to my 55+ community and am the new event chairperson.
Not many people have participated in events so this survey will be a great help to get their input.
Thank you.
Susan 28th Apr 2022 Activity Director
Hi Catherine
Have you thought about having a resident council meeting where Activities they want to do the primary topic
Giving them a choice of two or three items usually is good
You are so may want to do one to one especially with the student not usually participate
Here are some ideas how to get residence to participate
Susan 7th Apr 2021 Activity Director
Hi Aysheya
It is a good idea to do the survey before starting activities to see what your residents are thinking
Ayesha 7th Apr 2021 Director Of Activities
This really helped me today. Since we are reopening soon because we have all been vaccinated. I am getting a sense of my residents.
Jan Brunetti 24th Mar 2021
Love all the ideas if I run out I can always count on you thank you
Susan 24th Mar 2021 Activity Director
Hi Jan
Thank you for your kind words
sherry BIRD 23rd Mar 2021
I would love to see this survey, however do not have word available to me, we only have google docs. is there any way you could send it to me for google docs?
Talita 29th Mar 2021
Hi Sherry, you should be able to open a word doc in google docs. Just open your google drive and click New and then select File Upload and select the word doc. That should do the trick!
Susan 18th Feb 2020 Activity Director
Hi Brenda
Here is an activity evaluation form
Brenda Torres-Wells 18th Feb 2020
Thank you so much for providing this helpful tool. I also would like to request a copy of your annual survey.
This is a wonderful tool!

Thank you,
Rosa 26th Aug 2019 Recreation Therapist
Hello everyone. Our organization recently provided our clients to a water amusement park trip. I was asked to develop a questionnaire for the clients to fill out about their experience on the trip. I’m drawing a blank on question to ask. Can someone please give some ideas?

Thank in advance
Susan 27th Aug 2019 Activity Director
Hi Rosa
Ask about what they enjoyed about planning the trip
The bus ride or transportation over there to the park
Their favorite activities at the park
The fun they had with their friends
Did they meet new friends
Did they have anything to eat what was their favorite
Did they see any children
What did they think the children were doing and what did the children have fun doing

I am sure if you think about the trip and each part of it that you can figure out more questions to ask if this is not enough

Let me know if you need more help
Thomas Chidubem 10th Aug 2019
I likely to understanding this work well.
Talita 12th Aug 2019
Thanks Thomas
Doreen 12th Mar 2019 Senior Ministry Director
I would love a copy of the Activity Survey but need it in a PDF form. Is that possible?
Talita 17th Mar 2019
Hi Doreen, it is provided as a word document so that you can edit it to include your facility name and any specific questions you would like to include.

You can open the word document and make any changes you require and then save it as a pdf document. (File > Save As > and then select type 'pdf').

Let me know if you have any questions!
Karen Martinsen 3rd Feb 2019
What survey do you use to have the patients in a Swing Bed setting, evaluate how I am doing with the Activities program? I'd also like feedback from staff to get their ideas.

Thanks so much! Karen in Sitka, Alaska
Valarie 3rd Oct 2018
Just joined 2 days ago. I am loving all the information. Just recently took over the activities department at the facility I work for so I will take any advice and help I can get.
Talita 8th Oct 2018
Congratulations on your new position Valarie, and all the very best! You will find a lot of resources you can use here and lots of support from others if you have any questions. x
Amanda 22nd Aug 2018 Activities Director
So excited to use this survey as the new Activities Director at our facility
Talita 26th Aug 2018
Thanks for your feedback Amanda, love to hear how it goes! Congratulations on your new position and all the very best! x
Tonya 5th Feb 2018
Thank you the feedback survey was very helpful!
Jana Johnston 12th Jan 2018
I am currently in my fourth week of Activity Therapy On-line course. I absolutely love the surveys provided. I will definitely use these in my Practicum Survey Assignment. Love the fact of an informative and useful ideas get emailed everyday !! Thank You Ma'am !
Kathleen M Ruder 30th Aug 2017
Would love help
Celia 3rd Aug 2017 Activities
A VERY BIG Thank you to Susan & all who helped with providing the activity/residents survey forms.Both excellent and will be of benefit to our residents and planning of our activities.Much appreciated.Keep up the good work.
Suzie Don Leonard 19th Jul 2017
thank you!
we are in the process of preparing our annual survey of our respite clients and their carers and these templates have generated further thinking and provided lots more ideas and options.
Much appreciated!
Talita 23rd Jul 2017
That's so good to hear! Thanks for your feedback Suzie.
Geraldine 3rd May 2017 Care
Can someone show me how to record an activity session
Lalaine 29th Mar 2017 Life Style Officer
This is great! it gives me lots of ideas and information. Thank you for creating and helping us. Everything are here, I wish it will give us more so we can improve our activities cater for elderly.
Thank you
Talita 3rd Apr 2017
Thanks so much for your feedback Lalaine
Marsha 29th Dec 2016 Recreational activity officer
Thank you for that most helpful .
Talita 1st Jan 2017
Thanks for your feedback Marsha!
Mariann 1st Oct 2016 Recreation Director
Wow !!!! Big help... Thank you
Talita 3rd Oct 2016
Thanks for the feedback Mariann!
Talita 23rd Aug 2016
Thank you Wendy!
Wendy 22nd Aug 2016 Student
Just joined and I am loving, the information is so helpful thank-you.
Darla 16th Aug 2016 Recreation and Rehab Manager
The Recreation Therapy program (Gerontology) is recently introduced in our facility. Your suggestion of survey and evaluation of programs is on track with offering the best choices in leisure. Our residents and clients deserve the very best activity and recreation choices that we can offer, and the information you have provided today is very useful and helpful.
Talita 23rd Aug 2016
Thanks Darla!
kirsten 16th Aug 2016 Activities Coordinator
This is awesome. Thank you so much for refreshing my memory.
Talita 16th Aug 2016
Thanks Kirsten!
Alison 16th Aug 2016 Lifestyle
We do annual surveys of our programs and resident satisfaction survey which includes all aspects of living in care. However i do like the resident lifestyle survey shown here which is placed into the accreditation outcomes too.
Talita 16th Aug 2016
Thanks for your feedback Alison.
Julie 18th Feb 2017 recreation
Could I get a copy of your annual survey for residents? And yes I would include the lifestyle survey it is very good!
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