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About lindsaymarie

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  1. I have had the same problems with activities after lunch, and I realized that if I don't come before they all leave the kitchen, I will lose them to nap time. So I have kitchen activities at 1pm, and then they are engaged enough not to lose interest in subsequent activities. On Mondays we play a matching game, on Tuesdays we have a craft or indoor gardening session, on Wednesdays we have afternoon tea with cookies or cake (on these days I ask the kitchen staff not to send dessert to us--we are in a secured unit--so they'll get it during teatime), on Thursdays we have "table talk" sessions, and on Fridays we sit down with a box of cards and write letters home to friends and relatives about the week's activities, complete with pictures. Catch 'em before they retreat back to their rooms!
  2. My current favorite 1:1 activity is pet time with our facility's rabbit. When I worked in AL, we simply gathered everyone into a circle in the activity room and passed the rabbit around to each resident while conversing about childhood pets and animals and so on. Now that I work in memory care, however, I find it more difficult to keep a group of people seated for that long. Instead I bring the rabbit from room to room and each resident gets to pet her for as long as they want, which usually adds up to about an hour unless the rabbit becomes antsy, in which case I end the activity early. There are a couple residents who really dislike leaving their rooms and whose sole interest is the rabbit, and they really love this activity. The ideas in this thread are really fantastic. I have written down the housekeeping music boxes and the sweet dreams cart, and I hope to implement those next week.
  3. I've seen these carts in the Nasco catalogs, and they are pretty enticing, but I will never purchase one due to the high price. It seems like a better idea to slowly accumulate themed supplies and compile one's own cart than to make such a large, intimidating purchase like that. By taking the slow route, you get to see what your residents respond to in the process and you can put together a truly personalized cart that fits your specific residents' needs. Some of my residents have pretty obscure interests that I know I won't find in a pre-assembled cart listed in a catalog.
  4. Our exercise program consists of balloon volleyball, seated basketball, floor bowling, floor golf, ring toss, chair yoga (very successful!), theraband exercises twice a week, and a weekly walking club. The chair yoga video was ordered through Nasco and it was not successful with the AL residents, but the residents with Alzheimer's do very well with it. I do all of the exercises along with them, and chair yoga is the only time that I am sweating and groaning along with them. Some of the exercises are too complicated for older folks, but they can all be modified to accommodate lower functioning residents or those who are less flexible.
  5. Stell, You can find everything you need to know about certification and degrees here: http://nccap.org/ Specifically, here is a breakdown of what your level of certification would be after NCCAP certification and college education: http://nccap.org/certification/levels/index.shtml I got into the activities profession after many, many years of caring for elderly people in private and institutional settings. I actually had my first experience as an activities volunteer when I was twelve years old. Like you, the general desire to help people has always been with me. I stumbled into eldercare early on and fell in love with this population, so I've stuck around. Right now I am pursuing an English degree (I am also a junior) as well as NCCAP certification, without any set goals in mind. I took a long break from education after high school and spent a lot of time agonizing over academics and career choices. Now I know that it is important simply to have a degree first and foremost, and I've chosen a subject that I have always loved to make that road as pleasant as possible. I wish you luck and happiness!
  6. This is my first Christmas as an AD, and I've put together a Secret Santa for the residents. I made a list of residents that includes gift ideas for each (some of them I asked directly what they would like for Christmas as part of a reminiscence activity, but I work in the Alzheimer's unit so some residents are unable to communicate their desires). For some of them I listed items that I know they need, such as toiletries or a new set of towels. Residents receive gifts from only one staff member so that nobody receives more presents than the others, and for those who are not chosen by a staff member I will be using the budget to acquire items for them. We are having our annual Christmas party on the 17th and loved ones bring in gifts for their relatives on that date, but I thought it would be really special to have wrapped boxes beneath the tree on Christmas morning.
  7. I would love a copy of this form. My email address is lindsaymv@gmail.com Thank you!
  8. Hello everyone! My name is Lindsay, I am 25 years old, and in two weeks I will begin my career as an activity director. I have been working for the past 1.5 years as a medication aide and part-time activities assistant for an assisted living facility in rural Virginia, and I work in the special care (dementia) unit. The job recently became available and now I've got it! I'm very excited because I love this kind of work (I started volunteering in the activities department of a retirement home when I was 12 years old, I was a student aide during art class in the special ed department of my high school, and I have worked in a variety of caregiving environments for years). I have discovered that I have a real passion for dementia care. My own grandmother died a few years ago after struggling with the disease, and I feel that if she had been more engaged on a regular basis she may have had much better quality of life near the end. She started to decline rapidly after moving from a very interactive environment into a nursing home where she was very isolated and bored most of the time, so I have seen first-hand the importance of an activity director's position. Despite all of my caregiving experience, I fell into this line of work entirely by accident. I took a long break from education after graduating from high school and I started college last year as an English major with the long-term goal of going on to library school. However, I have fallen so in love with my job and my residents that I can imagine myself staying in this field forever. It is challenging and highly rewarding and I feel like it helps me as much as it helps the residents. Like group therapy! I found out on Monday that I got the position, and I have spent the last couple days putting together a binder of activity ideas and resources. One of my closest friends is the activity director for the AL side (I will be doing activities just for the SCU), so I've got someone to bounce ideas off of. I've even put together a tentative calendar for October! The SCU's current census is only 14 and our capacity is 18, so my goal is to get every resident engaged for at least 15 minutes every day, whether in group or individual settings. I've got 4-6 group activities (4-5 hours) scheduled per day with time in between and at the end of my workday to spend on room visits and 1:1 activities. I have spent a lot of time reading through these forums and taking notes, so thank you for already providing me with some fantastic ideas. Finding this website has been wonderful, and I look forward to sharing my experiences and ideas with you!
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