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In September the Activities Department starts a resident bowling

league. The bowling league ends in February and a bowling

banquet is held to give our awards to the bowlers. To set up the

“bowling alley†the hallway outside of activities is utilized. This

hallway has an exit door at the end therefore we temporarily

cover it with a dark shower curtain to ensure it is not too bright

for the residents. The bowling pins are set up at one end and the

resident and the bowling ramp are placed about 20-30 feet away.

A rubber bowling ball is used to make sure there is no damage

sustained during the program. Bowling scorecards can be

printed off the Internet (https://s-media-cacheak0.


949f1ce6.jpg). These supplies can be ordered through S&S

Worldwide (http://www.ssww.com/item/bowling-set-with-poundball-

W2668/, http://www.ssww.com/item/bowling-ramp-10291/


For the bowling banquet held in February dinner, decided upon

by the residents, and awards are presented. The activities

department makes or purchases awards and then personalizes

them. The awards are chosen by highest score, most strikes,

most spares, etc., until all residents that have participated

received an award. The banquet requires preparation in

advance. The awards can take time depending on shipping or

the time spent to make and personalize them. The activity room

takes time to set up as well and the meal takes time to make.

Nursing and Dietary needs to be notified and the meals need to

correspond with the resident’s specific diet.

This activity can meet the needs of a resident that was in a

bowling league when they were younger, enjoys sports or

competition, enjoys socializing with peers, or likes small groups.

During the bowling program residents are transported in and out

of the bowling alley due to space limitations. This program

requires the help of two activities staff members. One staff

member is used to set the pins. The other staff member is used

to keep score and turn the bowling ramp if the resident is unable

to do so themselves. This staff member also encourages and

assists the resident during their turn. Each resident bowls 5

frames for their turn. This has been the easiest way to maximize

participation in the program. If there were 6 residents bowling

one frame at a time it would take exceptionally longer than it

would to allow the resident to bowl 5 frames at one time. The

resident may also lose interest if they are switched frequently.

It is nice to see the residents competing against each other to

get the highest score. The staff members running this program

enjoy it as much as the residents do. A calculator and

instructions on how to score bowling may also help for this

program. Tape may also help in setting the bowling pins up in


the correct formation.

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I play bowling with my residents on the secured units as well. The only difference is that I do not keep score so as to foster camaraderie among the residents and to reduce unnecessary arguing and confrontation. Since I have many residents who are interested in bowling, maybe I will turn it into a tournament style activity formatted the way that you format yours.


Ms. Kasha Smith

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I love the idea of a banquet. I would have never thought of that! When I worked at a nursing home the residents did not have the arm strength to do bowling like you described, but we did table bowling and they loved it. We would play 5 rounds and then double whatever their score was so it would compare with real bowling. At the end we would give away 4 bowling trophies (which were donated) and they would get to keep the trophy in their room for a week. The next week when we did bowling again, we would round up the trophies before the program started and do it all over again. Residents loved it.

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