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  1. Hello, If you are looking for an original activity that will bring creativity and laughter try “Build An Original Story.” This idea came from one of my assistants. {They are asked to come up with a new activity each month} The Activity Assistant comes up with the first line such as “One day I was walking” or “Last week I took a bus ride and guess what happened.” The residents start adding lines to the opening line. The AA is writing all of this down on a dry erase board so everyone can see what’s been said. The residents can be very creative. Most time the nursing and/or housekeeping staff chimes in with their lines. It makes for a great group activity where everyone can participate because everyone has an opinion to add! There is a lot of laughter, too. The activity usually lasts about one hour and they usually create two stories. This is a morning activity and therefore their completed stories are read back before lunch. The residents now have something to add to their table conversations over lunch. It works great for my peeps. I hope you try it! I’d be interested in hearing from you about your experience. Good luck. ~Tammy
  2. Hello, I think my building has come across a great way to bring the staff and residents together. We call it our Monthly Leadership Challenge. Each month the Activity Department {who else!} comes up with a specific challenge for our Leadership Team {Department Heads} to do with the residents. We have done such crazy things as “What’s My Line” where the DH’s had to guess what job title was picked by asking the panel questions. This was a hoot! At Easter, each department had to make a float to be in our Easter Parade. Our Maintenance Department won that one since they came in on a flat cart with Beach Boys music blaring and handing out orange “floats” to the residents. {Hey, no one said bribery was excluded!} One of my favorite was our “12 Days of Christmas.” Each DH picked their ‘day’ out of a hat and had to act it out as the residents sang {or tried to sing in between all the laughter!} the “12 Days” song at our Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony! The poor DH’s who picked low numbers! This was hysterical! Since the Activity Department is always creating the challenge, we never get to participate so starting this month one DH will have their name drawn out of a hat and they will have to come up with the next months challenge. Our residents really look forward to these events. Everyone is invited, including family. It gives our residents a chance to see another side of us other than the ‘business’ side. Some other ideas we had were Iron Chef, tennis match {glad I didn’t have to participate in that one!}, Family Feud, Scarecrow decorating to resemble your department, etc… The ideas are endless! Your residents will love it. Have fun. ~Tammy
  3. Hi there, I love the idea of spotlighting a resident each month, but these are the concerns I ran into that you have to be careful of. No matter how you pick the resident for a specific month someone is going to be hurt. In my case, I have 41 residents...which will take me 41 months to get to everyone! Family members were asking me all the time when their loved on was going to be featured. I hated feeling like I was picking one resident over another. I even asked staff to pick, and they felt the same way. SO! I decided to just do a little "Getting to Know You" section in the monthly newsletter that included all the residents who were having a birthday that month. Sounds great right? Well in the month of June I have nine residents born that month! On the other hand, none in November! HA! We all want our residents to shine because they deserve it, but we just have to keep in mind their feelings. The birthday way everyone is familiar with each other from reading about each other and that makes for some great table talk! I hope this helps! ~Tammy
  4. Hi there, First off...don't be discouraged. You will find your groove. I have a secured Memory Care Unit and currently we have 41 residents with Alzheimer's or other Dementia related diseases. I, too, find the mornings are the best time for my folks. I had to switch things around several times to get a balance for my afternoon programs. We have two separate dining rooms, and one finishes before the other so we are not able to start a program directly after lunch because the second dining room is still eating. {And we all know how hard it can be to get these special folks to eat can be} Lunch is over by 1:00. Our first program starts at 1:30. It's usually a sit down; around the table type activity like Bingo, LCR, crafts, Card-O, Poker Keeno, etc... That way we are already all together. We've only had to round them up once after the noon meal. That activity lasts for one hour. At 2:30 everyday we have some sort of snack such as banana splits, brownies, fresh baked cookies, mini-quiche, etc... Everyone's internal clock is set for 2:30 around here. Those who are in their apartments come out for 2:30! Now we not only have the crowd from the 1:30 activity, we've been joined by the 2:30 munchie bunch! Then at 3:00 we typically have either a mentally stimulating activity {Pictionary, Wheel of Fortune, spelling bee, etc...} or a physical one {bowling, shuffle board, Wii, etc...} Every day ends with exercise {4pm}. It's a great way to get to build up their appetite for dinner {4:45-5:00}. It also helps get rid of any frustrations or if sun downing is starting, it's a great diversion. Mind you, it isn't always perfect everyday for every resident. I just know it works with my wonderful peeps. They exercise twice a day, in fact. Right after breakfast to get energy built up for the morning and then as I said, right before dinner. We always play upbeat music that they boogie down the hallway to on their way to their dining rooms. I sure this helps you in some way! Good luck. ~Tammy
  5. Hello, We run into this in my building particularly because when we have a level of care change it’s because one of our Assisted Living residents is transitioning to our secured Memory Care Unit. I have found that by spending time with our AL residents, when it comes time to make the move to MC they already know me. The same applies to my Activity Assistants. They are scheduled in both areas of the building so they, too, can form a relationship with all the residents. It just makes the move smoother. The resident feels they already have a safe and familiar face in their new environment. It’s beneficial to the family members as well. Everyone wins. Another biggie is the folks on my Memory Unit attend every function in the building with the AL/IL residents. They mix and mingle with the all of the residents. That’s so helpful because if and when an AL resident needs MC, they will see that life really doesn’t change that much. They are just living on a different floor. Sometimes we have the resident who is in need of the change spend time on MC participating in Activities or just visiting. Often we will have that resident dine with a few of our residents in the Main Dining Room for a meal. Having a familiar face in new surroundings is so important. I hope this helps you. Good luck. ~Tammy
  6. Hi Vickie, I run across that often. I have a secured unit with 42 residents with Alzheimer's or other Dementia related diseases. Sometimes a new resident does have difficulty adjusting to all the new faces and surroundings. I have found time is your only friend. My experience is just showing them love and reinforcing the fact that they are safe. Once you've gained their trust, they will be your new best friend. This usually doesn't happen overnight, however. Each resident adjusts differently and on their schedule not ours. Bonding with their family members is a plus. When the resident observes you with their loved one and it's a happy gathering, they are going to sense that, and believe me, that is key. Keeping your resident busy is also important. The busier he/she is, the more important they feel. My only suggestion for your sweet resident is love. You are not in the Activity field by chance. You are there because you care and your heart has led you there...your residents will feel it. Hang in there. Let me know if I can be of any further assistance. I hope this helps. Good luck. ~Tammy
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