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Elisa

Senior Activity Coordinator From Carlow, Ireland


19 Comments

Elisa 27th Aug 2019 Senior Activity Coordinator

Forum

Hi Sunya and Jane,
Would you have access to WI-Fi and a Smart TV or Chromecast?
I have a common room that is staffed by a HCA and what we do to help them is to have a Youtube playlist for each day of the week with different kinds of media for different times of the day.
It is turned on at 9.00 by the nurse in charge and runs for 9 hours.
First hour is easy listening to help with the meet and greet, then 30 min of instrumental music for tea break, then an exercises video for 20-30min followed by sing along favourites until 1pm mixed with some animal and baby videos. After one, back to easy listening or andre rieu for another hour to give everybody some time to rest. Then a short film (Laurel and Hardy or a documentary), followed by 30 min of instrumental music for tea break. After that, we have different thigs for difrent days like poetry videos, sayings, nursery rymes, a nice relaxin video of gided mediatation, etc. They always end with "in Dublin's Fair City" and another sing along starst (I try to find songs with lyrics on the screen so HCA can join in, but not Karaoke as the residents do need the lead of the siniging).
It does not always work, as sometimes the HCA do not want to do the work and I do not have choice of who ys allocated there but I think it helps if the HCA is interested.

I hope this helps you.


Elisa 17th Aug 2019 Senior Activity Coordinator

Forum

I have some moral problems with planning big group activities in common areas, as it reduces the residents ability to decline to take place (as where else will they go) and some might juts just take part because they think they will be scorned if they don't.
Group activities have the same potential to do harm than to do good, I am sure you all have experienced a resident becoming anxious during a group just because of the task itself.
I once went to do an interview in a nursing home where they were doing sing along in the huge reception lobby, there was a core group of residents who were very involved sitting in formation in the middle while the rest of residents who you could feel had "their own seats" in the lobby were much far away. Yes, a few of them were singing but a few others were not and one of them was saying that somebody had invaded his space.

That said, I am all for small group interaction anywhere in the home including the lobby, for leaving resources spread around the home for everybody to use (including visitors).
Elisa 25th May 2019 Senior Activity Coordinator

Forum

I agree with Susan that limits of time vary greatly.

I just wanted to say that attention is limited for everybody regardless of age or disability. Psychologists suggest sustained attention spans from 10min to 45min depending on who writes the paper.
This might be what the nurse was referring to.

Healthy adults can redirect attention easily, and thus keep atention long enough to watch a film or a concert. And will not be stopped by fatigue.
People who have cognitive, mental or physical problems have both difficulties redirecting their attention and will fatigue sooner.

I do limit the length of any formal group activity to an hour of actual running time (non counting getting everybody in and out) because I don't want to risk residents getting fatigue but not because they won't be able to.
To help residents redirect attention, with external provider is difficult to do something if they are not very engaging. But when I design the activity I deliberately introduce attention catching elements like
- a 1min add every 10-15min when watching a film.
-Dropping my book if I am reading during book club
-changing music genre during sing along.
Elisa 25th May 2019 Senior Activity Coordinator

Forum

Hi Michelle,
I agree that sometimes it is difficult to find past interest of the residents, specially if the lived in rural areas or have a lot of cognitive impairment.

I use a tool from the Model of Human Occupation called "Interest Checklist" to document interest in a person centered way.
It has a list of common passtimes and three columns; past, present and future. This allows to write what they used to do before, what the do now and what they would like to keep doing or try out in the future. This tool has copyright but it is easy to create a list of possible interests (you will need at lest 20 varied ones).

The role of the Activity coordinator is to facilitate activities, knowing past interst is very useful but being old and in an institution does not mean that people cannot find a new interest or that they won't like to try out something new.

Also, when thinking of groups, I find useful to transform the numbers of people you get to percentages. If your unit has 15 people, a group of 7 or 8 represent 50% of residents. It would be very unusual to find something that will be enjoyed by half the population. So if whatever you are doing gest an attendance of 5 you are actualy engaging with a third of your population, which is quite a sucess.
Elisa 12th Apr 2019 Senior Activity Coordinator

Forum

Sorry would you be able to be more detailed?
In general if your residents need to sleep during the day, they should be able to and it doesn't necessarily mean that the level of care is bad.
In the UK one sees the words "meaningful activity" often, a meaningful activity can last minutes but the benefits might last hours.
And in general environmental interventions ( an area with appropriately curated music, rummaging boxes, colouring things left on tables...) have greater impact on the residents wellbeing that us telling them what to do specially when ther needs are high.
Elisa 7th Apr 2019 Senior Activity Coordinator

Forum

Sorry, I copied the link incomplete.
https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/publications-factsheets/this-is-me
This should work well.
Elisa 7th Apr 2019 Senior Activity Coordinator

Forum

Solanges ideas are great for those resident's who are more able.
If your resident has cognitive or physical impairment I would recommend that you have a look at Montessori tasks. There are various books with plenty of ideas but I just prefer to look at Montessori pages for children and either buy the least childish or make one.
Construction sets are great, my residents enjoy building with a organic chemistry set that I got from Alibaba. I have people who like 'making things right' so i give them a complicated model to undo and put back in the box in order.
But as Susan said is a question of seing what works for each individual.

Elisa 5th Apr 2019 Senior Activity Coordinator

Forum

Hi, I agree with Susan that looking into a day centre or respite service for your husband and a suport group for you is very important.
If you are in the UK I recommend assisting to a Dementia Cafe which are organised by Alzheimer's UK and are open to the wide public, they always have great information about local resources.
Regarding things to do with your husband, I would encourage both of you to do work around your life history and personal preferences.
A scrapbook of important events and people with photos and short captions, a box of objects that are meaningful or bring back good feelings and if your husband enjoys music, a playlist of favourite songs. This is usually an enjoyable long term project for everybody in the family and will be useful in the future to anybody who comes into contact with your husband.
I leave you two templates, one short one speciallydesigned to help heslthprofessionalzs
https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/publications-factsheets/th
And this one from golden carers
https://www.goldencarers.com/my-story---short-biography-template/3934/
I hope this helps
Elisa 5th Apr 2019 Senior Activity Coordinator

Forum

My manager seems to appreciate, however I still have more difficulties explaining to nurses and care assistants why 30 people in a room for a group qctiviry might not be a good idea and why residents should not be left in a single place just because it's easier not to move them around regardless of their interest or ability.
Elisa 4th Apr 2019 Senior Activity Coordinator

Forum

Hi Sharon,

I am of the opinion that dividing groups into interests and ability is indispensable for an activity program to be effective.

However, when I say dividing, I don't necessarily mean into separate rooms if the room you are located is big enough.

I used to work in a dementia specific unit where most of the residents sat in the sitting room. When I started working there all the seats were against the walls in a big circle with the TV as the focal point. We rearranged the chairs and the TV sothere were three separate areas. The TV went to a corner, the furthest from the door, with some seats around it. Then there were some clusters of 2 to 4 chairs around tea tables. Finally, there a smaller semicircle of chairs near the door. We used a smart tv so the area near the tv was audiovisual stimulation for those less able (old music, animal videos, landscapes, baby videos, colours and shapes, guided meditation, etc.), the small clusters around tables were for people who could do things to entertain themselves, magazines, jigsaws, pen and paper puzzles, colouring, etc. And the semicircle was for the more social who enjoyed group activities. I divided my time between and sometimes would ask people to move to different seats if i knew they would enjoy something I was doing in the group, for example a lady who was almost never able to do things in groups but who knew all the proverbs.

I hope this helps you
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