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Recreation therapist From New South Wales, Australia

7 Comment

Wendy 6th Aug 2019 Recreation therapist

How to motivate residents in long term care

Hi Kandace
With very capable residents, ask them to make suggestions and take a role in making it happen, giving them a sense of "ownership" and empowerment. List the potential resident roles and put that up in a common area asking residents to nominate if they would like to do one, or if they would like to suggest another role. Some ideas to start might be: a "roving reporter" in the home, finding/writing up snippets for the home newsletter; using a camera to take pics of flowers in the garden, birds feeding etc for a "photo of the week" noticeboard; finding a joke, poem or prayer of the week to share on noticeboards; maintaining supplies of quiz, spot the difference, or crossword sheets around the home in designated spots such as lounge areas, corridor activity stations for residents to use at any time day or night- adult colouring sheets are very popular too; dining areas often have residents who fold serviettes decoratively, vary floral arrangements on tables (silk, dried or real). Setting up one or more spaces with a large jigsaw puzzle and sign inviting people to complete has been popular in our home - one resident started and was soon joined by others and staff from time to time! An area with board games can be good for self-directed activities - from complex ones like chess, checkers, word games, to snakes and ladders - try to get one or two residents to nominate to keep the games area tidy/re-set. Do you have a computer for resident use and any residents who are computer savvy - having one show others places they'd like to see or visit using Google Earth has been popular in our facility - they don't need you there to facilitate, it can be fully self-directed - they just organise a time to be there & anyone interested joins. Depending on the interests, expertise and skills of your residents you might get a wide variety of other interesting suggestions from them! Wendy
Wendy 6th Nov 2018 Recreation therapist


Hi Margaret

Some of our Chinese residents love playing Mahjong (they are quite cognitive, not sure if you have same).
Wendy 6th Nov 2018 Recreation therapist


Hi Robyn
Giving her tasks is a wonderful way to help her develop a routine and feel more "at home" and connected to the facility. Meaning and purpose is important whether fully cognitive or living with dementia.

Presuming they speak more in Serbian, I would suggest putting a nice sign in their language in their rooms or on their door saying "This is my home" or "This is (whatever their names are)'s home" - perhaps with a photo of them on it to help support memory in relation to the concept of home.

Visitors from the relevant cultural community are very much valued by some of the residents in my home from a range of different backgrounds - just being able to speak in their own language and reminisce about their homeland lifts their mood even if they have short-term memory issues. I suggest you contact the Serbian Club executive (not just the staff at the club - more office-bearer of some type - they may even have a welfare officer) and see if they could assist in finding a suitable Serbian-speaker who might be willing to visit your residents now and then, or if they have any suggestions on a cost-effective way to maintain connection with that community (eg is there a free newsletter). They may also assist with the correct language/spelling for the sign - you can always use internet translation but sometimes it isn't quite right.

You might be able to work with the kitchen/servery to have some Serbian favourite food occasionally, even if it is more a sweet/cake/biscuit type food for a morning or afternoon tea for them?

Final thought - are they religious? Is there pastoral support in your facility or was there a church they attended that could approach on their behalf for emotional support/visits to them in their "new home"?

Best wishes, Wendy.

Wendy 7th Aug 2016 Recreation therapist


Does anyone run a spiritual reminiscence program? I am after topic ideas for those with mild dementia. We have reminisced about phases of life, parents, feeling safe, friendships - these worked well with photos or pictures as conversation prompts. I would love to hear what else may have worked for others!
Wendy 13th Nov 2015 Recreation therapist

Songs for Seniors Quiz

This is just a wonderful resource! Thank you so much for all that effort - it is very much appreciated!!
Wendy 2nd Sep 2015 Recreation therapist

Things that go Together Quiz

This is a great idea as you can also use pictures instead of words for those who can no longer read, but can match images - download a picture from the internet, resize as needed (bigger for those with eyesight problems), print and laminate. It works for all sorts of things - food types and clothing are good ones for dementia residents. "Horse and Carriage" is a fun one as it can lead into a song as well (many residents remember the lines " and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage"). Wendy
Wendy 29th Jul 2015 Recreation therapist


Probus clubs might be another source as some have a quite a range of active retirees who have led interesting lives/careers/hobbies. If you have animal lovers, one of the rescue organisations like WIRES might be interesting.