Many of the residents I work with get bored at times throughout the day. They finish eating a meal early, or have some down time when others are napping, and they want something to do. I read somewhere that people older than retirement age watch an average of 40 hours of television every day. While I schedule nightly movies, each movie has a reason for being shown, and it’s not mindless daytime television; I try to keep them away from the TV as much as I can, even if I’m not doing so physically. This means that I offer things for the residents to do on their own, without supervision, without much planning, and without the necessity of someone helping them.
One of the ideas I use that has gone over very well so far is monthly binders. Each month, I choose a holiday or theme and create a binder for that topic. This year, I made one for Women’s History month (download, slideshare) including many famous women from history, a photo and a short biography, and one for National Poetry month (download, slideshare), including photos of poets, and a well known poem they wrote. The facility I work for also has binders full of pictures of a theme for those who can’t read any longer. I leave these binders in the common room on our health center floor for residents to look at whenever they want. I also label the binder so that if someone wanders off with the binder, staff knows that it belongs to the activity department and returns the binder. The residents really enjoy these binders and the information they contain, and some of our more anxious or aggressive residents enjoy the picture binders and are calmed by them, and often get a sense of purpose from them.
I’ll update this post as I create more binders. If you have any similar activities or any ideas for binders, let me know!