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About Vikki

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  1. I do some of the same: meetings, direct care, care plan meetings, manager on duty, drive doctor appointments sometimes, etc. We also have monthly training sessions that each manager leads in addition to in-services on different topics. I coordinate and implement the volunteer programs as well.
  2. We use paper plates sometimes for light resistance and everybody likes the choreographed feel to it. If you've ever had a chance to watch any of the "Chair Dancing" exercise video series they have some great examples how to incorporate plates into the exercise program.
  3. Vikki


    WOW! That's asking quite a lot. I don't know if this will help, but I keep a time log and at the end of the day I fill in by half hour blocks how my time was spent. It helps me use my time more efficiently and helps me manage time, but it also demonstrates all of the things that are done in one day. Some minor things may be able to be delegated (still working on this because sometimes it's hard to get someone to take on a new task), but what this will do for you is provide an accurate look at how much time one activity really requires and it can be used as an example for your boss to see things more realistically about continuous coverage. Maybe there's a compromise that can be made? I think asking people to work 7 days in a row is going too far, though.
  4. 1. I've put together a variety of mix discs and switch them up a bit. I use a lot of Motown because that gets everyone really moving. I have a mix of international music that people seem to really like and then there are a couple of hodgepodge ones that have everything from Joni Mitchell to the Chieftains. The seasonal ones are fun to make, too. 2. We've used light and lively and there's this other one, I don't know what it's called, but a lot of people want me to throw it out because it is so obnoxious. There are a couple of residents, though, who are really attached to it and it's hard to get this one group to switch it up sometimes when nobody is leading. The exercises are pretty good on it, but it's a guy playing a piano and making up new words to some of the old classics so it's all about exercise (instead of "I'm forever blowing bubbles" he sings stuff like "I'm forever stretching muscles" it's quite bad, actually).
  5. Since April is National Poetry Month and one of our residents is a published poet, we are going to have a few poetry-related activities next month. There is a game we're going to play and normally it goes by the term "Exquisite Corpse", but I think that's a bit morose for our residents, so I'm trying to think of a different name. The way it works is that everyone sits in a circle and the first person writes two lines to a poem, folds the paper over so only the second line is showing and hands it to the next person who, in turn, also contributes two lines. It continues around the circle this way until it gets back to the beginning and then you read the poem aloud. It's really interesting because each time you obscure part of the writing so things can change up really fast. Many of our residents are very much able to do their own correspondence and don't have a problem writing, but there might be a couple of people who will need assistance. It's a neat game, though. You can also do it with a story instead of a poem. The other things we'll do is a "Fill In The Blank" poem where we sit in a group and residents call out various adjectives, nouns and verbs and the group leader plugs them in to a poem that's been partially written. (There's a cool template for how to do this here- http://www.eduref.org/Virtual/Lessons/Lang...ng/WCP0200.pdf) We're also going to have a poetry reading where participants will bring a copy of their favorite poem (or they can tell me their favorite poem title or name of a poet and I'll get copies of the work) and we'll read them aloud in a group setting. Classic stuff to read include works by Longfellow, Rumi, Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allen Poe, Tennyson, Robert Frost, e.e. cummings, Dorothy Parker, the Bronte sisters, etc. Another idea was to do a "beat poet" social where we'd have fancy coffee, have everybody dress in black, wear berets and read poetry by people like Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg and Charles Bukowski with some Bebop jazz music set in the background by people like Dexter Gordon or Sonny Rollins. Then everybody would do the finger snaps instead of applause after each reading. I think they would get a kick out of it.
  6. I was wondering how many people here have a bus at their facilities and how many of you are one of the drivers? Since our bus is right at 16 passengers I didn't have to get a CDL to drive it and just went through a training course. I have to admit that at first I was pretty nervous about driving it, but it's so funny how this has become one of my favorite parts of the job! We have the overhead P.A. system on it, and one of our new traditions has become impersonating a flight captain at the beginning of any of our outings. The residents get a kick out of it because several of the men at our community are retired naval or commercial airline pilots. Anyhow, I was curious to find out how many others out there are also driving the bus and wanted to know if you enjoyed this part of the job. Also, what kinds of things do you do on joyrides, do you have on-board sing-alongs and do you play any games while on the road? One of our favorite games has become "Actor Alphabet" or another alphabet game. We start off with the letter "A" and go through the alphabet trying to name favorite actors whose names begin with each letter. We also do the same thing with foods or names of towns.
  7. http://www.brownielocks.com/month2.html This is a great site with a list of observances and odd holidays for each month in the year!
  8. I am in my third month at the facility where I am now working. It has been a big adjustment and I can appreciate all of the stress and frustration you are feeling. I previously worked for a senior center that had activities during the day for independently living older adults. It was sort of like the YMCA, but for people 50 and over. Now I am at an assisted living facility and while I have 83 residents to focus on instead of 300 members, they are not as high-functioning and require a lot of direction and facilitation when it comes to activities. I like a good challenge and this is affording me a great opportunity to be creative. Apparently, the previous AD didn't interact very much with the residents and didn't get along with the assistant at all. It was sort of a shock to have people coming up to me and saying thanks for doing activities. There has been a lot of resentment among staff and residents when it comes to activities because of a lot of let downs (things being scheduled and not happening, not enough planning for things, not enough supplies, etc). I feel like the majority of my time should be spent interacting with the residents and consequently find it difficult to make time for the necessary paperwork (I have been sort of dropping the ball on that part, so managing that along with activities is my goal right now). Initially, the rest of the staff, save for a few people, didn't want to be involved in activities even though it is a company policy that everyone is supposed to be part of the activity program. I think this is because there wasn't much follow through before and everything was put on the assistant. I have been able to build some trust among both the staff and the residents by scaling back activities to the minimum that I know can be accomplished and still be within guidelines. The second thing is I make sure the activities happen (this is still daunting because we have three separate buildings and I am running all over the place all day long. I give the residents my full attention and because some people take up more time I have been late getting to other buildings for the following activities, so I need to find a different way to fix this). They used to have stuff on the calendar, but much of it didn't even happen. So just by being there and facilitating things it made a big difference. Another thing is I spend one hour a week with the staff during lunch. I help serve, take care of drinks, wash dishes, etc. And I also try to take time once a week to help the staff with small things like folding napkins, fixing the menus for the next meal, refilling salt and pepper shakers or taking meals to the rooms of people who don't come to the dining room. This has built trust with the staff and now I find them to be more participatory when it comes to certain activities. I also take time to get to know staff members and find out their interests, hobbies, etc. One lady likes trivia and crossword puzzles, so I worked with her department head to find time in the schedule when it is slow enough for her to come and lead a trivia game. Staff in another building are doing more to go and get residents from their rooms to come to activities or assist them with getting ready for outings. During the times when I am not there and an activity is to be planned I make sure they are low-key and easily managable. We have a current events group, a gaming time, a movie, an afternoon social and a resident-led exercise activity. Right now I am just asking the staff to go around and get residents to come to the program at the designated time. I leave materials in a convenient place marked with directions on them and work with the leads to ensure that someone will be assigned for things that need a little more direction. This is when that lady does the trivia game and I know it's something she enjoys so I can be assured it will go on as planned. Another thing that seems to work when I am not there is having entertainment because all that has to be done is show the entertainer where to set up and go round up residents to attend. As I get farther along I will try to implement more involved things once I know the staff feels comfortable and willing to do them. With your assistant, it might be helpful to write up a schedule of expected duties. If there is structure and she knows what is to happen each week during her hours when she is there and what ongoing or recurring responsibilities she has it could give her enough direction to stay focused. I have an assistant for 16 hours and we worked out her schedule so that on Mondays she comes in and helps round up residents for the shopping trip, she attends the shopping trip with us and assists residents, then when we come back we have an hour to plan or work on bulletin boards, gather materials and stuff. Then she does a craft project and later hosts Bingo. The next day she teaches a group class and then helps round residents up for a joy ride. On Fridays she helps get residents ready for the out to lunch trip, accompanies us on the lunch trip, leads an activity of her choosing when we get back and helps get people to attend the afternoon karaoke social. So that way her schedule is known each week and we have a couple of hours leeway to do other things like work on her goals and brainstorm on other program ideas. I would just play to her strengths, find out what she enjoys doing most and make a couple of those things her responsibility during the time she has there. Then plan the other activities according to a schedule you find most managable that you know can be accomplished and that also works for the residents. Network with the staff, give them encouragement and when you see them doing something good point it out to them and then tell their manager what a great job they did. They will appreciate it and be more receptive to helping out which will take some pressure off you. If there are events to be done when you aren't there, get with the department heads and find out who is on the schedule and what times are slowest for them and plan around that. Keep it simple! I think once you get into a more established routine things will fall into place!
  9. Here's an interesting collection of things associated with the number 50 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/50_(number) If you want to do a 50s theme you could get some of those fake plastic 45 records and string them down from the ceiling, have a milkshake social, wear poodle skirts and bobby socks. There are a lot of great 50s karaoke CDs out, too. We hook the karaoke machine into the television and do it as a sing along since a lot of people don't want to sing by themselves on the microphone. Usually a staff person holds the mic and we all stand up in a group and lead it. The residents get a kick out of us hamming it up. There are probably some entertainers in the area who do music from the 50s. You could also do a trivia game about slang from the 50s. Here's a collection of slang- http://www.fiftiesweb.com/fashion/slang.htm
  10. Thanks for all of the great input! I talked to her personal care assistant about the tank and we're trying to get a smaller one. The assistant can hold it for her, as she is too frail to do so. The assistant is concerned, however, about her frailty and hip problems. I am going to try to find a solution with one of the nurses about if there is a safe way to transfer her without causing injury since it's a tight fit along the aisle. In the mean time, I have been trying to make the window space available to her, but she has become even more combative. After talking with one of the other department managers I learned about the oxygen deficiency problem she has that requires her to be on oxygen and how that affects her mood a lot of the time. Which explains a lot about other behavior I have noticed when not doing outings. When doing games, discussion groups or other programs I ask if she wants to join us and bring her over to the group, but really she wanted to argue with me about why she has to wear her oxygen. She wants to take it off a lot, but her personal care assistant explained that she pretty much has to have it on all the time because of her condition. I can only imagine how frustrating that must be for her. She often talks about wanting to "get out of this prison" and "why can't I be treated like a normal person". Since it is in her best interest to have her oxygen on, the only thing I can do for her is voice my empathy for her situation and try to show understanding for her frustration. A few times I have been able to get her mind off things during an activity, but often she will be vocal and loud about her predicament and many of the other residents become upset about it. I just try to redirect her back to the activity or politely change the subject by pointing out how nice her flower arrangement is coming along, etc. She's smart, though. She has this really mischevious gleam in her eye and she'll grin at me and go, "oh, I know what you're trying to do." It seems to be working much of the time, however, so I've decided I'm not above trickery. Hahah.
  11. We have a resident who becomes very combative when it is time to go on the Joy Ride outing. She is in a wheelchair and is also on oxygen. She isn't able to hold herself up with a walker, so when we go on the bus she is in one of the wheelchair spaces in the back. Lately, she has become really combative once we start putting her on the bus because she wants to ride in one of the other seats "like all the normal people". For one, it is sort of distressing to the other lady who sits beside her in the other wheelchair and it also fouls the mood for all of the other residents on the bus because she is so boistrous about her displeasure and complains loudly during the ride with comments such as, "I don't see why I have to sit back here in this prison, it's not right to treat people like this." I don't have a problem doing a transfer to a seat, but she has the huge, bulky oxygen tank strapped to the back of the chair and she has to have the oxygen. So I don't know how to resolve the thing about the oxygen so she can sit in a regular seat. We've talked about trying to get one of those carts we can put the tank in and wheel it to her seat, but someone would have to hold it for her while she rides because she is rather frail. So the only way I can think to do it is to get her up on the lift, somehow do a transfer up to a seat, put her oxygen tank in the portable cart and then bring that up to the seat, have someone hold it and then take the wheelchair off the bus so someone else can use the wheelchair spot. I'd hate for her not to ride at all, but it is really starting to be a problem for the whole group because it has created such a fuss recently and she is becoming so combative. Then my other concern is if we figure out a way to do a transfer for her, everyone else who is in a wheelchair will be wanting to do the same thing and then it will take over an hour just to get people on the bus to get ready to go instead of the 20 minutes it usually takes us to load the bus. The other residents who walk onto the bus already complain about how long it takes to load and get everyone buckled and secured. There has got to be some kind of diplomatic compromise to resolve this, but I'm sort of at a loss right now.
  12. Vikki

    MLK Jr. Day

    It turned out really nice. We picked some great quotes with the help of some of the care managers and while people learned some new things about Dr. King when we read the biography and had the discussion, everyone's favorite part was definitely the reading of the quotes and the release of each balloon.
  13. User Name - Vikki What type of facility do you work for - Assisted Living How long have you been in Activities - 10 years, 3 years specializing in Seniors Where are you from - Virginia What is your sign - Aquarius What job did you do before activities - Event Coordinator, Community Relations Coordinator for a bookstore. What famous people do people say you look like - not sure If you where an animal, what would you be - a ferret Hobbies - Martial Arts, Fishing, Guitar, Violin, Reading AD Strength - Building relationships AD Weakness - Saying "No" Favorite Type of Activity - Group Sing Alongs Least Favorite Type of Activity - The ones that I think will be really cool, but nobody wants to participate. Favorite AD Book - I have one about building and maintaining a volunteer base that's great. Can't think of the title right now. Favorite AD Website - Google, I can find pretty much whatever I need. Do you have a website - no, the main company does, though. Certified or Not Certified - Certified in PACE, but not activities Email or snail mail - both Is your office small, medium or large - Medium Storage room or no storage room - 2 Storage Rooms How many rooms can you do activities - We don't have any activity rooms, we do activities in the common areas of each cottage (we have three cottages).
  14. We're holding a special program about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tomorrow where we'll read aloud a short biography on his life, discuss his accomplishments and how he has had a lasting impact on society and then we will attach pieces of paper with quotes from Dr. King onto balloons and go outside to release them into the air as a symbol to continue to spread his message.
  15. Hi, I just happened across this site and there are a lot of great resources and idea starters here. I am an Activity and Volunteer Coordinator for an Assisted Living community that also has a special neighborhood for people with memory impairments. It's a great place and we have about 85 residents total, but logistics are sort of a nightmare when compared to other places. We have three cottage-style buildings and each have relatively small common areas since it's set up like a homestyle environment. So there are positives and negatives. We don't have a lot of space for large groups, but it is a very cozy feel. The main hurdle I am anxious to overcome as I am relatively new at this community (I've been there a little over a month now) is how to balance the activity calendar among three different buildings. I have noticed that in the past they would just set up major events in the middle building and make the residents from the other two come over from their neighborhoods to participate which has resulted in a lot of resentment from the two buildings on the fringe. So I've been setting up activities in each building, but as I only have one assistant for 15 hours a week and I am also responsible for driving the bus on three weekly outings it is impossible to be everywhere at once and the Care Managers are so busy with their own responsibilities that they are reluctant to lead any activities themselves. So I set up activities in all buildings and find myself running about all day trying to lead each thing which means I stay late all the time just trying to get the basic office work done. I have started in on trying to recruit a few volunteers since they have no regular volunteer program in place and I can't rely on Care Managers to take up some of the programming. It's somewhat difficult right now, as I plan for an activity to last an hour and then pad the time so I can get to the other building for the next thing, but afternoon socials are kind of a nightmare because they happen at 3PM in each building and the residents will not come out and socialize by themselves, it seems they have to be prompted and facilitated to do any activity by a staff member and there is no way I can be in all three buildings at 3PM every day, so this is leading to some frustration in the buildings where I am not able to go despite each day of the week my going into a different building each day for the social. So I'm wondering if anyone else has a facility set up like this and how are they handling everything being small and spaced out and not enough staff or support to manage it all?
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