As an Activity Coordinator, things can get really busy and there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. It’s hard to sneak away time at your desk for notes or planning because every activity is so hands on. Well, I have come up with a list of 10 activities most seniors should be able to do independently so you can take some time to work at your desk, plan activities or just catch up on emails.
1. Gardening Club
I just set out supplies on a table, zip lock of dirt, flower pot, seeds, water, maybe some small plants. Sometimes I leave markers, stickers or paint so they can decorate the flower pots. They come in, chat, share stories and enjoy getting their hands dirty. I put down plastic table cloths I get from the dollar store to make clean up a piece of cake.
2. Card Games
Again, I just set the tables with any supplies they need, (cards, card holders, automatic shufflers, score pads, list of rules and pencils) and let them enjoy. The games most popular with my group is Hand & Foot, Bridge and Spades.
3. Travel Video Experience
This one is really fun for my group. I use a travel video, sometimes documentary style, sometimes just images/vlog style. I pick a food from that location, ex. for our video about Berlin, Germany I put out a selection of sausages and some pretzels. I also put out some beer or an apple juice punch (for those who can’t have alcohol). I decorated the snack table with little German signs and little volkswagon toy cars and such. Again, I just set the table and start the video, they help themselves to snacks. I’ll try to link some of the videos we have done, the Travel Experiences have been a really big hit with them, and it’s a nice little break for me too!
4. Word Games/Picture Finds
I have several of these on my site, sometimes I download them from www.teacherspayteachers.com. It’s an easy activity they can do on their own. They like to sip coffee and gossip while they work on them.
5. Card Making
I just set out the supplies on the table that they like to use (cardstock, glue sticks, scissors, stickers, stamps, scrapbook paper, etc.). We have a resident who keeps a list of anyone that is sick or has a birthday coming up and each person in the group picks a person on the list to make a card for.
6. Happy Stitcher Group
We have a group of ladies that enjoy knitting. They get together about once a week and knit baby blankets which we later donate to local charity groups. This is a very independent group activity.
7. Prayer Group
We have a box in our main hallway that residents drop prayer requests into. Each week our Prayer Group meets to go through the requests and pray together for each other. I usually provide them some refreshments but otherwise this is a resident led, independent activity.
8. Flower Arrangements
This is not an activity that we are able to do terribly often, but it’s great fun when we do. I have established a rapport with some of our local florists in our area. When their flowers get to a point where they can not sell them but they are still good for a week or so, or they may be cut short and were scraps from another arrangement, they donate them to us. We usually get a fair amount so I just spread them out on the table, give my ladies some recycled plastic bottles and let them go to town.
9. Put on a Short Play
This is something my residents are doing right now. It’s a very short comedic play (3 scenes) or so. Not much props (I am helping with those). They have weekly play practice on their own and I just help with the set up.
10. Laugh Lines Group
This group meets to laugh and socialize together every 2 weeks or so. I look up a bunch of appropriate jokes, print them out and stick them in our Funny Fish Bowl. They take turns taking out jokes and reading them to the group. I usually leave out punch and maybe some pretzels or goldfish. They love reading the jokes and laughing together. It’s always a great time!
Hope these inspire some activities at your facility!