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About themusiclady

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  1. If the goal of activities is for the seniors to have 'meaningful experiences' you could trade on that: create a range of unique things to do which as you say might be beyond organising otherwise. Example, making a recording of reminiscence/interview/the person singing etc then providing an edited CD for the facility or family. If you're doing something like jewellry-making you'd have to price up what's needed for each resident, say a kit, how many you'll have in the group then your price will need to reflect that cost, travel cost and taxes against whatever you think is appropriate profit for the time. You will only be able to do 2 or 3 groups in a day- most places schedule an activity mid-morning or mid-afternoon, a few for early evening - so price will need to reflect the limited number of hours you can work to make a wage. Examples of activities I've seen that people take around to senior communities: mobile casino, Tai Chi, oil painting, Viktrola & old recordings, old west storyteller, tea party, birds and animals. The ADs will be looking for good performance and engagement skills, consistency, affordable programs. Someone the seniors look forward to coming who brightens up the day and brings energy and enthusiasm. 'Someone who can easily keep people happy and busy for an hour' is how one AD puts it. She catches up on paperwork to one side during that hour.... Good luck!
  2. There is a tremendous amount of assistive technology which is underutilised in our field, partially because of cost perceptions but mostly because of lack of knowledge. http://www.eyegaze.com/ & http://www.enablemart.com/ for example. The slightest of movements or eye movement can control a computer or specially adapted fixtures, there are even 'brainwave' computers which respond to the patients blood flow and brain patterns: brain computer interface. If you are in a city you may be able to get a local medical technical department or company come to visit your patient and become a sponsor to design equipment specifically for him.
  3. I provide music and entertainment programmes, would be happy to help with suggestions or encouragement; my email is mail@tracypace.com I'm originally from the UK and now in Houston Texas!
  4. Sorry I'm not having much luck using the new set-up for some reason! What about inviting people and asking them to bring a pet-related item? Families/volunteers/local daycares/school/youth groups/church might be good & any of the petfood or items left over you can donate to the animal shelter- maybe take it there as an outing another day? Crown Trophies make cheap animal trophies for your winners http://www.crownawards.com/StoreFront/indexmain.html and you can print out certificates for other contestants, 'most friendly', 'cuddliest pet', 'obedience' etc.
  5. Ideas: Christmas baubles eg. http://www.allfreecrafts.com/christmas/card-ornaments.shtml from recycled christmas cards or cardstock. You can glitter or gold spray them etc DECO home clay to make brooches and badges or earrings ( Hobby Lobby sell the fastenings pretty cheaply ) It dries hard in 24 hours or you can bake it. Paper mache wall masks or ornaments. For a face use a plastic jug as the mold with the handle as the nose. Lavender bags: circle of fabric filled with lavender tied with ribbon. Mitten felt bookmark http://crafts.kaboose.com/mitten-bookmark-clip.html Personalised calendars. A motivational jar with a folded paper for every day with a quote or words of encouragement. Or a joke-jar with funny messages or quips. Coloured scented bath salts http://www.mormonchic.com/crafty/bathsalts.asp Collect and press flowers & ferns ( I use a heavy book ) use for cards and pictures. Hobby Lobby has paper mache/cardboard eggs and treasure boxes to decorate. Funny gifts, advertising flyer for a Santa's elf; wrap a discloth and tea towel with a poem like this This Christmas our ship has finally come in We’re feeling so wealthy and rich. Instead of some small remembrance This year will be quite a switch. We’re giving a gift of high quality No more cheap presents for us. It’s time we really went all out But don’t worry, it’s really no fuss. We considered giving you a sports car Or maybe a tropical cruise --- But we decided to be more practical And give something each day you could use. So, open the box and you may be surprised, To find not only one gift, but TWO --- We hope you will soon put your present to work It’s a WASHER & DRYER, too! Have fun!
  6. Here's the guide for your area http://lee-county.net/ Library ( many libraries have activity programs or will create an activity if there's a need. They're also a good resource for free local events, leaflets, brochures etc ) beach local church festivals and events ( many have daytime senior clubs ) Chinese buffet/restaurant ( lunch/dining club? ) museum or art gallery park ( picnic? ) nature ramble walk dogs garden center animal shelter visit craft class coffee shop or tea house mall local bar cinema ( in our area there are dollar films or cheap films at some theaters during the day ) Downtown historic district craft fair concert ( lots of organisations have free daytime concerts or you could ask a local college or school to put on something for you ) Have fun!
  7. Has anyone heard any recent news about Sunrise? I remember they were bailed out of filing for bankruptcy back in the Spring. I've recently had to stop working for one facility because they stopped paying my invoices, kept promising checks were on the way but the last three never came; it's the first time since I've been in business this has happened to me- most places go out of their way to treat me well I'm really good at what I do and reasonably priced. The AD has begged me to keep going but I've had to say no more until you pay and please pay on the day in future. It's a beautiful place and it makes me sad because I do love the seniors, and the music is so good for them, but I can't afford to work for free...still I feel sorry for the AD stuck with the situation. Thanks for listening!
  8. you could make a list of suggestions for the staff meeting eg 'bring a resident with you if you come to get a snack' and religiously implement a reward system for the staff who follow through. You'll need to be vigilent noticing all the little things people do, compliment them, make sure they know you see what they do and you appreciate it. You'll need the support of your leadership team, mentoring these things in reviews and training etc. Having worked at many many facilities across greater Houston in the past 5 years there must be people who don't really understand what the activities program are for or how they should be run as a therepeutic environment! I've led music groups in dining halls where the staff are loudly taking coffee breaks or setting tables, worked underneath loud-speaker systems constantly calling out messages to the unit, had every unnecessary interruption or disturbance you can imagine, vacuuming, maintenance, socialising staff, people on cell phones, staff constantly walking in front of the seniors who are watching me instead of going round behind the group etc. This is bad practice especially for working with people with short-term memory problems or hearing impairment, but I see that inspections now note & mark down these things more and more so maybe there will be big changes in the future. Until then- good luck!
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  10. like a wooden chair with a special plaque? And is there someone locally she admires you could ask to come make a special presentation to her? 103, wow; I am seeing more and more people living into their 100s around Houston too.
  11. Do you have good local entertainers? I know as a therapeutic musician I am biased, but you can't beat getting someone in regularly who's good to perform and engage the residents!
  12. If you'll be using CDS, I use songs from all these artists: Doris Day Fats Waller Fats Domino Patsy Cline The Happy Goodmans Frank Sinatra Elvis Bing Crosby Dorsey Brothers Billie Holiday Ethel Waters Judy Garland Ella Fitzgerald Louis Armstrong Glen Miller
  13. These are some ideas I have used for my music entertainment groups: 'Harvest Festival' ~ The modern British tradition of celebrating Harvest Festival in churches began in 1843, when the Reverend Robert Hawker invited parishioners to a special thanksgiving service at his church at Morwenstow in Cornwall. Victorian hymns such as "We plough the fields and scatter", "Come ye thankful people, come" and "All things bright and beautiful" but also Dutch and German harvest hymns in translation helped popularise his idea of harvest festival and spread the annual custom of decorating churches with home-grown produce for the Harvest Festival service. 'Last of the Summer Wine' ~ reminiscence and fun, photographs, stories and songs about getting older ( When I'm 64, May to September, Autumn Leaves, Rocking Chair, Young at Heart etc ) 'A Musical Journey Around the World' ~ one of the assistants made a cardboard bus with the resident's faces in the windows and we had a wall map with cords leading to songs from the programme. 'Disney World' ~ toffee apples, cotton candy, fairground music, Disney hats. Good one for a family day, maybe even even hire a carousel. 'HoeDown' ~ denim and chequered scarves, straw hat crafts, blindfold pie tasting, cow-pat tossing, bluegrass music. 'Winter Wonderland' ~ narrate story about being snowed up, sing Christmas songs, wear scarves and hats and serve hot chocolate with marshmallows. 'Casino' ~ one place hired slot machines and a croupier, music was nightclub standards, 'waiter' took round trays of little drinks and appetisers. 'Rosh Hashannah' Jewish New Year ~ the history, Hava Nagila clapping song ( gets faster and faster ) eat apple slices dipped in honey and wish each other 'sweet and happy new year', everybody stirs the honey cake mix and makes a resolution. 'Chilli Cookout' ~ cornbread competition, country music. 'Divali' the Hindu festival of lights, a local temple might come visit with their beautiful clothes & maybe play sitar, and you can use non-flame candles or the residents could create cardboard star lanterns and put decorative electric lights behind, or hang clear light strands. 'Classic Cars' ~ here in Houston several vintage vehicle organisations bring their vehicles for the residents to see and sit in, I play 20 s music. 'Winter Games' / 'Winter Olympics' ~ foam snowballs, themed bean bags, timed contests for 'dress the angel', 'santa ski slope' with action figures ( good if kids are coming ), 'extreme egg-nog'... the ideas are endless really! Email me if you'd like any more or any music ideas mail@tracypace.com And check your local tourist org for the local festivals for trips, and use their themes, maybe their posters and advertising materials. Some of them may send out their people to do enactments or talks.
  14. The gifts I cherish which I've been given over the years are the photographs and little handwritten notes from staff, residents and family members....something that preserves all the happy memories and makes me feel really appreciated! One year someone made me a CD of photos from all my groups that year, told me she'd been planning it for months: inexpensive but priceless.
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