Friday, November 1, 2013

Activity director in a nursing home

It's really hard to cheer people up in a nursing home.  Everyone knows they do not have the freedom they once did when living in their own homes.  They cannot go shop whenever they like, they cannot just decide to go have lunch or coffee out in the community whenever they like.

Activity Directors in nursing homes have their work cut out for them.  Before I was a Social Services Director, I was the Activity Director in a nursing home.  Corporations are so cheap, they do not see activities for seniors as anything useful, nor do they like to allocate much money for activities.  It's also very difficult to recruit volunteers to come in and provide entertainment for free.

It's kind of a myth that all seniors love to play bingo and as Boomers age, well, most of them have little interest in bingo.

There are good Activity Directors and there are mediocre ones and then of course, there are bad ones.  The one nursing home I worked at thought that Garfield cartoon movies appealed to the elderly, when in reality they liked things like The Notebook and such.  You know, real movies for adults.

I have to say the Senior Prom was another idea I disliked very much.  Most seniors liked working on quilts, having bake sales, interacting with animals and gardening.  

The Activity Director at one home, didn't see any reason to work with Social Services either in helping to alleviate what staff liked to label behaviors.  It takes all staff to help find residents things to do, meaningful things to do.

We had one lady who had worked at a department store since she was 16 years old, at 90, she missed feeling useful.  I begged activities to find her something meaningful to do, to no avail.  Hence this poor lady was pegged as having behaviors because she complained about being idle. 

If you become an Activity Director, or are one, remember all the useful and meaningful activities in your life that make your life worthwhile.