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Activity Directors Impariments and the Adaptive Strategies and Techniques to make each Activity a Joy!

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Adaptive Strategies and Techniques
Without a doubt, it is important to identify whether the residents have conditions and/or issues for which staff should implement adaptations to allow the resident to fully enjoy the experience. 

The following is a simplified reference guide examples of specific conditions and appropriate adaptations:

Visual impairments: higher levels of lighting without glare; magnifying glasses, light-filtering lenses, telescopic glasses; use of “clock method” to describe where items are located; description of sizes, shapes, colors; large print items including playing cards, newsprint, books; audio books; 

Hearing impairments: small group activities; placement of resident near speaker/activity leader; use of amplifiers or headphones; decreased background noise; written instructions; use of gestures or sign language to enhance verbal communication; adapted TV (closed captioning, magnified screen, earphones); 

Physical limitations: the use of adaptive equipment, proper seating and positioning, placement of supplies and materials (based on clinical/nursing or physical therapy referral as appropriate) to enhance: 
  • Visual interaction and to compensate for loss of visual field (hemianopsia); 
  • Upper extremity function and range of motion (reach);         
  • Hand dexterity (e.g., adapted size of items such as larger handles for cooking and woodworking equipment, built-up paintbrush handles, large needles for crocheting);
  • The ability to manipulate an item based upon the item’s weight, such as lighter weight for residents with muscle weakness; 

Use of only one hand: holders for kitchen items, magazines/books, playing cards; items (e.g., artwork, bingo card, nail file) taped to the table; c-clamp or suction vise to hold wood for sanding;

Cognitive impairment: task segmentation and simplification; programs using retained long-term memory, rather than short-term memory; length of activities based on attention span; settings that recreate past experiences or increase/decrease stimulation; smaller groups without interruption; one-to-one activities;
NOTE: The length, duration, and content of specific one-to-one activities are determined by the specific needs of the individual resident, such as several short interventions (rather than a few longer activities) if someone has extremely low tolerance or if there are behavioral issues. 

Examples of one-to-one activities may include any of the following:
  • Sensory stimulation or cognitive therapy (e.g., touch/visual/auditory stimulation, reminiscence, or validation therapy) such as special stimulus rooms or equipment; alerting/upbeat music and using alerting aromas or providing fabrics or other materials of varying textures; 
  • Social engagement (e.g., directed conversation, initiating a resident to resident conversation, pleasure walk or coffee visit);
  • Spiritual support, nurturing (e.g., daily devotion, Bible reading, or prayer with or for resident per religious requests/desires);
  • Creative, task-oriented activities (e.g., music or pet activities/therapy, letter writing, word puzzles);
  • Support of self-directed activity (e.g., delivering of library books, craft material to rooms, setting up talking book service).
Language barrier: translation tools; translators; or publications and/or audio/video materials in the resident’s language; 

Terminally ill: life review; quality time with chosen relatives, friends, staff, and/or other residents; spiritual support; touch; massage; music; and/or reading to the resident;  
NOTE: Some residents may prefer to spend their time alone and introspectively. Their refusal of activities does not necessarily constitute noncompliance. 

Pain management: spiritual support, relaxation programs, music, massage, aromatherapy, pet therapy/pet visits, and/or touch;

Solitary preferences/own room or is unable to leave room: in-room visits by staff/other residents/volunteers with similar interests/hobbies; touch and sensory activities such as massage or aromatherapy; access to art/craft materials, cards, games, reading materials; access to technology of interest (computer, DVD, hand held video games, preferred radio programs/stations, audio books); and/or visits from spiritual counselors; 

Altering sleep patterns: activities are available during awake time. Some facilities use a variety of options when activities staff are not available for a particular resident: nursing staff reads a newspaper with resident; dietary staff makes finger foods available; CNA works puzzle with the resident; maintenance staff take the resident on night rounds; and/or early morning delivery of coffee/juice to residents; 


Short-stay resident: “a la carte activities” are available, such as books, magazines, cards, word puzzles, newspapers, CDs, movies, and handheld games; interesting/contemporary group activities are offered, such as dominoes, bridge, Pinochle, poker, video games, movies, and travelogues; and/or individual activities designed to match the goals of therapy, such as jigsaw puzzles to enhance fine motor skills; 

Younger resident: individual and group music offerings that fit the resident’s taste and era; magazines, books and movies that fit the resident’s taste and era; computer and Internet access; and/or contemporary group activities, such as video games, and the opportunity to play musical instruments, card and board games, and sports
Diverse ethnic or cultural backgrounds: special events that include meals, decorations, celebrations, or music; visits from spiritual leaders and other individuals of the same ethnic background; printed materials (newspapers,     magazines) about the resident’s culture; and/or opportunities for the resident and family to share information about their culture with other residents, families, and staff.
Have a topic request or question for Celeste? Send them over to celestechase@activitydirector.org

The NAPT- National Activity Professionals Training Course is written and taught by Celeste Chase, AC-BC, ACC, CDP, DMDCP  - NCCAP & NAAPCC Certified Educator. The Course Provides all the CE Requirements for Path 1&2 - NAAPCC Standards

Do you have 1 year of experience in the past 3yr working with the elderly as an assistant, a director or other?

Do you have a high school diploma or higher?

Do you hate doing practicum lessons about tasks you have been doing for years?

Do you have 8 weeks to take the National Activity Professional Training (NAPT) Class and pass the National Board Certification Exam?

Do you have the MEPAP1 Course? It is accepted at the NAAPCC.

Do you have money and time to throw away?  If not, then the NAAPCC Activity Board Certification Path is for you!

One Class, One exam, One National Board Certification.
NAAPCC "The Affordable Choice"

Contact NAAPCC.Office@gmail.com  Phone: 303-317-5682
Let their counselors reassure you you're on the right Path to National Board Certification.
"Your Experience Counts!" 

See if you qualify! Check NAAPCC Standards    

The certifications recognized under CMS F Tag 680 for Activity Professionals are the NAAPCC AP-BC & AC-BC, NCCAP ADC & ACC, CTRS, OTR, and COTA.  

NAAPCC Est. 2011, is the only Activity Credentialing Organization that follows the ICE, NCCA Standards for Accreditation. They are NON-Profit.


Contact NAAPCC.Office@gmail.com Phone: 303-317-5682
Let their counselors reassure you you're on the right Path to National Board Certification
"Your Experience Co

See if you qualify! Check NAAPCC Standards

American Healthcare Association's

Shelter in Place: Planning Resource Guide for Nursing Homes
Keep Residents, Staff and Family Members up to date with this blank Covid-19 Newsletter Template. Made simply for your convenience:

Step 1: Click on Button below
Step 2: Fill in sections with your info.
Step 3: Hit print or email.
Activity Directors Network was founded in 1996 on the idea that we could help create elderly care that dramatically improved the lives of those we all serve. We envision facilities that feel like homes and that celebrate our resident’s individuality and allows them to live with dignity, purpose and joy. We believe the exchange of education and wisdom between the most talented teachers and passionate students is the way to make an impact. Each and every single one of you are the revolution that is changing everything. Thanks for being a part of The Network.
Copyright © 2020 Activity Directors Network, LLC All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
2010 US HWY 190 W Ste 120 Livingston, Texas 77351

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    Comments From Students
     Thank you for correcting the information that was released. I recently took the test for certification with NAAPCC and it was a very comprehensive and thorough test. It was not a simple easy test to get you certified. You had to know the information in order to complete and pass. I would recommend this avenue to anyone especially if finances are a struggle for MEPAP I & II. I did purchase the book for long-term care seventh edition and without that I would have struggled.
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    Celeste is awesome!! Anytime i have a question she gets right back with me and she is very informative. At first I didn't know if i was going to like the new course just for the fact my MEPAP course was the own pace and I work Full time plus have 3 kids. But i am loving it! It is very structured and with due dates I feel like i am holding myself more accountable for completed assignments sooner than later. It has actually been a beneficial change for me.. Thanks so much!!!
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    Good Evening I wanted to let you know that I had completed mepap 1 and had only a couple weeks left of mepap 2 so I had looked at path 2 and have taken the activities test and passed so just sending in the application. I wanted to thank you for giving all your time to us even while Kathy was ill. It didn't go unnoticed, you was a great support and helpful at ideas or even different ways of changing thoughts to positive while feeling defeated. Thank You Stacey Passa AP-BC
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