By Haley Burress United States
Not every resident attends group activities, and it can be a serious struggle to find ways to get them engaged with recreation. Intentionally curated carts and baskets can increase your reach and keep your residents happily active.
Residents come to your community with different preferences and challenges. While some seniors are social butterflies and love attending nearly every group activity on your calendar, most are more selective of what they attend. Without consistent activity participation, you can begin to get concerned about lack of involvement.
Residents who stay in your community for short-term rehab (less than 100 days) are especially tricky to pull into activity programming. When these seniors aren’t participating in multiple therapy sessions each day, they are tired, in pain, or simply relaxing. An activity cart can be a way of intentionally giving them something to do during their downtime in the comfort of their own room. It is also a great way for them to see the smiling face of a Activity Professional or Volunteer each day.
Sometimes, residents just prefer to be alone. This makes it especially difficult for Activity Professionals to find ways to engage them outside of a 1:1 program. Activity carts can provide engagement in their room, and a regular check-in with staff can be helpful to check for signs of isolation or depression.
Activity carts or baskets are relatively easy to put together:
You can reach nearly every resident every time you grab your roving activity cart! Even if it is a short interaction, your regular check-in can do wonders for relationship building and involvement. Every community is different, and you may have to tweak some of these to fit your unique needs, but it’s a great start to get you (and your carts) rolling.
This cart is ideal for your short-term stay residents. Allow them to take an item from your cart by checking it out so that you know where your equipment is at all times. This cart can be expensive in regards to supplies, but you can work with your Marketing department to slowly increase your supplies. After all, having access to these items is a HUGE selling point for potential new residents. For your Technology Cart, offer:
Residents will love this door-to-door service, where they can stock up on new reading materials and adaptive equipment that makes reading easier on the eyes. You can include:
Load up this cart with activities residents can enjoy in their rooms, independently. You can include anything that your residents have expressed an interest in, like:
Team up with your dining and nursing department to make a serious effort to decrease dehydration in your community. Push this cart around mid-morning and even mid-afternoon if possible after picking it up from the dining department. You can include one “Drink Special” of the day, along with cups and straws, such as:
You can swap out the drinks every once in a while and use cups of fruits or vegetables that are high in water content, such as:
Swap out supplies on this holiday-themed cart, matching it with national or local events or traditions:
You can leave this cart or basket available for families to use near the front desk or activity room. Ask them to sign the items in and out so that you know where your supplies are, and so that you can chart the visit in your resident records. Switch out the offerings regularly, and consider including:
Reaching every resident every day, even if for a small moment, will show benefits quickly. Let us know if you have a traveling activity cart in action, what you include, and what benefits you have noticed.
Cheering you on as you roll through your hallways spreading encouragement and activity!