Senior communities across the country have been forced to scrap their plans and adhere to new guidelines to ensure safety during the coronavirus. This means, instead of filling up the room each day for activities like happy hour, bingo, and karaoke, they are getting creative by offering the same engagement in other ways. Here are some awesome examples of how!
The most obvious change lately has been the requirement to wear masks. There are plenty of ways to make masks more fun and easy to wear!
Design Your Mask
Make facial masks funny by drawing smiles on or printing pictures of mouths. One activity director shows off her new mustache with a printed mouth attached with safety pins! It’s important to wear the appropriate N-95 mask, but it’s up to you how you style it!
Save Your Ears
Wearing a mask for hours on end is uncomfortable, sweaty and can start to irritate your ears.
Try this headband trick where buttons on your headband are used to hold your mask instead of your ears.
Another idea is to use a fun hairstyle to keep your mask on. Two pigtails or buns on either side of your head are another option to keep your mask in place and not tug on your ears all day!
Stop The Foggy Glasses
If you wear glasses and a mask at the same time, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of fogging glasses! Try this helpful trick: Wash them with shaving cream, rinse and let dry!
Guidance For Residents
Senior communities have plenty of residents with only a few activity directors. Since you can’t be more than one place at a time, activity directors share helpful fliers and posters that help to identify concerns, needs, and questions.
Tips for Video Chats Informational Flier
Video chatting has been a huge help and resource in these times. Unfortunately, residents are usually not tech-savvy and families are full of questions. This flier was created to explain the usefulness of video chats for residents living with dementia and hard of hearing seniors, but also how to utilize it best and what works.
Teamwork and Resident Needs
Staff around the community who may encounter a resident in need of something. One activity director created this list of resident needs on the back of an old calendar to help direct other team members to the appropriate person. This way staff can not only know what activities teams can offer but can be actively looking out for these residents and their needs.
Keep Families In the Loop
Visitation and communication with family are crucial at any time but is even more important during the coronavirus restrictions. Thankfully, there are ways to help and adapt to the regulations while still keeping connected.
Setting up a window visit between families and residents is the next best thing to being in the same room. This activity director shares her creative decorations for the window-visit designated windows.
Don’t stop at families though, anyone can come for a window visit! Consider bringing by some 4 legged visitors like this community.
Social Media Posts & Videos
Social media can be the quickest and easiest way to keep families updated and connected to their loved ones. So long as getting required releases and consent, photos and videos can be posted for families to view and boost staff morale.
Managing Video Chat Requests
It is an incredible thing to be inundated with video chat requests from families but it can be challenging to keep everything straight! This helpful thread shares ways to keep video chats organized.
How to Plan
It’s tough to go from the activity-packed, fun-filled calendar to make a calendar that abides by new rules and regulations. Here are some creative ways to overcome these challenges!
Weekly or Daily Schedule
Instead of planning a month, it may be easier to go day to day or week by week. This thread thread shares helpful tips for planning a weekly calendar including:
- Activity cart schedules
- Physical distancing calendars
- Having a two-sided calendar with in room activities and hallway activities
The National Association of Activity Professionals (NAAP) also hosted a webinar on tips and tricks for planning and documenting during COVID-19 here.
The coronavirus changes can be frustrating, discouraging, and tiring. AD’s have shared their ways of keeping positive, having fun, and moving forward each day!
One way to keep spirits up is to dress up and be silly. Many communities have started themed days from color day to superhero day to engage both staff and residents.
Spread positivity with matching shirts with inspiring quotes. These can be custom ordered or DIY! Tip: Have residents help create shirt designs as a way to fill up your calendar!
The circumstances are less than ideal, but thanks to activity directors everywhere, the fun and engagement go on! For more tips on safely engaging residents, watch our quick 30 minute webinar that includes innovative ideas you can implement today, physical distancing friendly technologies, and tips for keeping up staff morale.