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Just Want To Vent


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Hi Everyone! I feel like I am pulling my hair out at this facility! Quite a few residents have come to me wanting a game/card group started. We tried last year and only had 2 people come. (And we do have lots of residents who play cards and other games on their own. ) So anyway, I got a late call from a High School group who wanted to come and spend time with the residents the very next week, so I suggested having a game day. They can bring board games, I bring the cards and see what happens. I wasn't happy about such short notice and not being able to get the word out, and it being superbowl sunday, but she insisted that the group couldn't do it any other day, so I cancelled my out of town plans and superbowl party. Well, they were supposed to have 20 kids and only showed up with 3-- which is fine, and they were 10 minutes late--- I was ready to go home and had already taken the signs down. I only had 3 residents show up too! I am really upset because the ones who SUGGESTED we have games didn't show up!!! In fact, I seen the lady and when I told her that it was still going on, and there was only 3-- she said " I am glad I went out instead and had fun!!!". That hurt! She came to my office 2 weeks ago and complained about the only thing for them to do is play Bingo! I got very upset and told her so, I also said that I have at least 5 activities a day for everyone to participate in, and she was welcome to give more ideas and suggestions for activities. She said she just wanted card games.


I try very hard, but can't seem to get people involved.


The residents are getting younger and more physically active--- taking care of grandkids during the day-- they have their own cars and can do whatever they want, they don't need me to direct them and they don't need to be involved.


On the flip side---- at the same time this is going on, a corporation is bringing barbecue dinners and volunteers for a party. BUT... they only have enough money to serve 100 people. This is thier 3rd year doing this. I never have more than 125 at any given party. But I give out 100 tickets and then start putting people on a wait list. I ran out of tickets in 4 hours!!! So now residents are telling me that I should have more tickets, the company that is coming should feed everyone and they are generally pissed at me for not "saving" them a ticket! I have talked to the company to see if they could skip the dessert and get more meat-- which of course they have to call me back. I understand the residents point of view, but I really believe that they are just being very very greedy!!! I couldn't PAY resident's to come to a party where I wasn't giving something out for free!!! They don't need the facility to keep them occupied and busy. I feel like I am beating my head against a wall-----and all I am getting is a huge headache. Thanks for listening-- I feel better now.

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Wow & it's only Monday! Hang in there.... As far as resident satisfaction, have you recently done a survey w/ your residents (the ones able to respond) asking what activities they prefer? Have them rank your current activities & suggest others. Also - have you gotten your Resident's Council involved - give them a little ownership. A problem I run into at times is the high-functioning residents who think the activity programs are only for them, & they wish to completely disregard the lower functioning residents. These are the challenge residents! I really try to educate these residents on the need for activities for ALL levels & try to get those residents to realize they have self-entertaining skills & don't need to have a staff person at EVERY single card game! :) I also have gotten some of my higher functioning residents to assist the lower functioning residents w/ some activities & that works at times, too. I also make sure that I document self-entertaining/independent activities as well as when they assist other residents. (Also keep in mind that these are also your most VOCAL residents, especially come survey time!)


I have had intergenerational activities that have flopped, but more often than not, they end up being really beneficial to all involved. I would suggest next time that both parties CLEARLY understand what is expected (20 people say they'll show up at 3 p.m. - 20 people better show up at 3 p.m.), especially if this is for some sort of credit for school. I don't want to sound harsh or grouchy, but I try to make it clear that it takes a lot of work to set up these events/programs & takes a lot of promoting w/ the residents/staff.


Best of luck,


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Guest Guest_Kathy

After 30 years of doing this, all of that is not surprising! We have the dreaded "Bridge" player come here a few months ago! And we have the groups, the "I can't plan more than 2 days ahead" group leader, the "Please let my group come to sing a soneg Christmas Eve so I can open my presents guilt frr on Christmas Day" and my all time favorite group...."We need to come and bring one kid to sing becasue we got a grant and included your facility and it needs to be renewed tomorrow so I also need a note, a thank-you letter and could you call the local TV stations for me?" group! My favorite are the ones that call with tickets to the circus or car show and will give them to you when you arrive at the venue tonight!!!! OH YEA they are a challenge! So I learned how to say NO......it sure wasn't easy and I felt guilty for weeks after I first did it. But now after 20 years of practice, it's much easier!

They are everywhere! They send secret notes to each other, they thrive on elevating their guilt with your residents. Please say NO......I say a nationwide, stand together, Big Old "PLAN AHEAD" CAMPAIGN.


Gld you could vent, made our day not seem so lonely!

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Hi, heavenstar! :-)


I think you have hit upon a problem that plagues all Activity Directors. Last minute volunteers hardly ever work out. I think, as far as the corporation that brings the 100 barbeque meals is concerned...while their willingness to participate in an activity for the residents is a wonderful idea , unless ALL residents are considered and included in their activity, then there should be no activity at all. Or, perhaps they could find another activity that will enable ALL residents to participate. I know you don't want to lose volunteers, but you also have to live with the upset residents who could not attend. I think the problem belongs to the corporation...not you. :hammer:


And, yes, if you can get an active Resident Council established they can help you share the burden of creating, planning and executing meaningful activities for everyone. In fact, this is the best way to solve (or at least relieve) your problems.


Happy AD'ing,


Linda Lucas, AD ;-)

The Activity Director's Office


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Thanks for all the input! I really feel a lot better. We have nearly 400 residents, so corporations doing something for everyone is really impossible. We are lucky to get it for 100. We also have an active Residents' Council and Program Committee that do a lot of the planning and volunteer work--- which is a great help. Whenever they suggest something, we usually do it. We have a nice budget to work with and we frequently do things for all residents that want to come-- which is almost never more than 125.

I am glad I am not the only one who feels this way every now and then. I love my job and couldn't imagine working anywhere else. Thanks for letting me vent!


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:-) I understand your pain. The thing that gets me is when you are looking for a great turn out they do not come, but when you least expect it here comes more than planned. I feel you should not cancel the corporation from coming to the facility, because it is a great group activity. Instead, keep a log of everybody that comes and the next time give others the chance to come. That way if somebody refuse their chance at least you know they were given the opportunity. Do not let this get to you. My saying is Smile for the cameras, You never know what they are going to fuss about next. You do what you have been train and that is to offer and they have the right to participate or refuse.

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I have only been at this for a few months but I have also experienced the last minute volunteer syndrome. I have figured out a way to get around this. I suggest they use the time volunteering to visit our roombound residents. This usually does the trick. They either decline or they come and visit our roombound residents. Either way it works out okay, and I don't have to reschedule.

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