Innovation has always been synonymous with activity professionals, and this could not be any more true than now. Below find some of the most inspiring ways communities are keeping residents safely engaged during physical distancing.
The Woods at Canco, Mountain Ridge Health and Rehabilitation, Commonwealth Senior Living
Start a dance party like everyone is watching! Inspired by Molly Donlan with the Woods at Canco, keep the mood lifted by kicking off a dance party by positioning yourself where residents can see you. Bonus if you can add a fun costume! If you don’t have a courtyard, try a hallway dance party like Mountain Ridge Health and Rehabilitation or a silent disco similar to Commonwealth Senior Living’s Dancing Through the Decades party
Window Family Visits
Winfield Senior Living Community, Majorie House Memory Care Community
Have a window where residents and their families can see one another? Perfect, that is all you need to keep residents and their loved ones connected. Try interactive games like Tic Tac Toe, or make it fun with a “visitation window”, see Majorie House Memory Care Community for inspiration. For residents whose families are further away, use video chat instead.
Inspired by Tammy Hall, this unique activity cart brings joy to residents by allowing them to adopt an animal. Fill a cart with various stuffed animals and allow residents to “adopt” their new friend. Each animal comes with adoption papers, giving residents a fun background story to read and leaving them with a lifelong friend.
Reminiscent of high school, spirit weeks are a creative way the whole community can get involved. This popular idea recommends pajama days to color days, and truly can be tailored to fit the preferences of your residents and team. For inspiration, check out this list of spirit weeks from other communities
Westbury Retirement Community
Using Google’s 3D Animals and a smartphone, residents can get up close and personal with animals from across the globe. Inspired by Westbury Retirement Community’s zoo tour, consider creating your own tour with animals in a particular region or select animals residents have always wanted to see!
Accolade Healthcare Pontiac, IL
Whether it is friendly competition playing foam hockey , or lifting voices with a sing-a-long, hallway activities are a great way to safely engage residents. For some inspiration, check out this list of 10 hallway games that go beyond bingo.
Not only does this activity brighten up your communities, it lightens the mood for both residents and staff. There are plenty of ways you can do this on a budget (see some resources here). Order window friendly paint or markers, or use shaped construction paper and tape to the windows. Find inspiration from activity professionals in this Facebook Group, **Activity Directors**
Village at Belmar, Garden View Assisted Living of Lafayette
This creative idea involves the whole community! Depending on the logistics of your community, have residents line up appropriately for the parade and give them fun flags to wave. Contact resident families in the area, or figures in your community, to drive by and engage with residents from afar. Some parades have included flashy cars with paint, to drivers dressed in fun costumes. Here are a few inspiring parades from the Village at Belmar and Garden View Assisted Living of Lafayette
Accolade Healthcare Pontiac, IL
Strut your stuff with a fun take on fashion inspired by Accolade Healthcare in Pontiac, IL! Pick a theme and recruit a few members from your team to help get the show started. A few fun themes include Hollywood Glam, Summer Vacation or even dressing up in fun costumes you already have (think Animals Gone Wild). Play music residents can sing or clap along to from their doorways and have them vote on their favorite outfit, you may even ask a resident to be the announcer. Another fun variation? Wear the same outfit and see who wore it best!
Somerford House Frederick
This is a great way to get residents out of their room and have a keepsake to share with families who cannot visit. Create an easily sanitized backdrop (for example, have the chair residents pose at least 6 feet from the backdrops and make sure props are laminated for quick cleaning) and have them write fun notes on a draw-erase board. For out of this world inspiration, check this rocket ship photoshoot from Somerford House Frederick.
Virtual Beauty Parlor
Ozark Health Nursing
Not feeling overly confident with a pair of shears? Not a problem! Play stylist with this fun app, Hairstyle Makeover, which allows residents to change their hair instantly. Inspired by Ozark Health Nursing, residents can try out hairstyles they may never have before. If you have a tablet or smartphone readily available, this is a laughter-filled activity that is best done during 1:1 resident visits!
Concerts and Performances
University Village Retirement Community
Depending on the layout of your community, you may be able to host entertainment in your courtyards, like this performer did with the bagpipes. Check with your regular performers to see if they are willing to perform in this capacity. Other ideas include recruiting performers to give readings, monologues, or share a fun talent like magic. If you have a large space and can appropriately distance, try live programming where residents can interact with presenters and performers in real time.