OK. Maybe burning it would be going too far, but the best activities are often those that we could never plan. The best activities seem to sprout up spontaneously. While activity professionals are committed to having a lively and diverse activity calendar, it’s also important to facilitate those more spontaneous activities.
- Have lots of options on-hand: decks of cards, puzzles, popular board games, ‘anytime activity boxes’ for on-going art, craft or service projects. A letter writing kit with different stationaries and stamps. Maybe some curious knick knacks or tchotchkes with a story. Song books, plays or sheet music. Photo albums and/or short biographies of residents are always popular.
- Train the support staff in how to quickly and easily initiate an activity: make sure they know where to find supplies, find out what kinds of activities they are comfortable with, encourage them to be creative and spontaneous. If something’s not working or getting stale, pivot, and try something else.
- Create the space: Oftentimes games and puzzles are kept in the Activity Room, which is also where all the activities are happening. Lots of communities have shared puzzle tables, but spread some more options throughout the house. designate certain areas for certain pastimes or projects. Remind residents that while they may not want to do the scheduled group activity, there’s lots to do.