Sub-acute guests, those who are short term, usually recuperating from a surgery or procedure, are an obstacle for activity directors.
They’re significantly younger than most long term patients, usually falling in the Baby Boomer (51-69) age bracket. For many of them, it’s their first major trip to a rehabilitation facility outside of a standard hospital.
It is understandable why many are hesitant to join in activities. Beyond the age difference, most are recuperating from painful surgeries, others know they’re only a few weeks from being back home – so they’re not looking to socialize, while others are independent and good at keeping themselves occupied.
I decided to do some research and ask baby boomers what they would want to do if they had to be admitted for sub-acute care. I reached out to the Facebook Page, “Baby Boomers Rock- A National Movement” which has over 20,000 members.
I was taken aback by how willing the group was to share ideas. Here are some highlights:
Hello everyone! I would like to share a survey that I conducted at my previous facility. I had struggled with involvement when it came to my baby boomer population. I knew over ten years ago that singing "In the Good Old Summer Time" and talking about famous celebrities of the 1940's and 50's wasn't always going to be a part of my job. I really wanted to get an understanding of this wonderful generation. A generation of revolution, free-spiritedness, culture change and inspiration....I put together a survey I called " The Next Generation Survey" to get a better idea of what younger adults would enjoy doing. Please feel free to copy and paste this survey if you find it helpful to understanding your residents needs.
Next Generation Survey
It is very important to the Recreation Department that we are suiting your activity needs to the fullest potential. We strive to cater to the needs of all of our residents, so please take a few minutes to answer the questions below.
Look at me and you might think I love romantic comedies, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Behind my bubbly exterior lies a horror movie fanatic and when I get older I know I’ll still want to relax watching Michael Meyers stab people or Freddy Krueger haunt people’s dreams. Yet if what goes on in modern senior care facilities continues, I’ll be forced to watch PG films and musicals.
Across the country Activity Director’s fill their movie clubs with safe family friendly fare, black and white classics, and bland musicals.
But why do we do it?
We insist on infantilizing our senior when it comes to the entertainment we present. As if a curse word or particularly steamy romance scene will shake them to their core.
For some of us it’s pressure from our facilities who are fearful of rocking the boat and worry over complaints from families. Yet for many, we make our movie selection based on our own preconceived notions. Well growing up, my grandma was a sweet old lady. I can’t imagine showing her...
In our line of work it's easy to fall back on what we do best. For me, socials, parties, and group activities was where I shined. However, when it came to arts and crafts activities I was like that kid in band class who didn't know the song.
Sure, I could improvise a few tried and true crafty programs, but beyond my lack of art skills I needed to contend with tight budgets and limited supplies.
Could you blame me though? When you have a room full of seniors who you need to get involved, not to mention facility directors who want to see great activities, what can you do?
However, we can't fall into the trap of avoiding the things that aren't our strengths.
Not only are we limiting ourselves more importantly, we're short changing outr residents. Arts and crafts might not have always been my idea of a good time, but beyond offering cognitive stimulation and strengthening spatial reasoning, crafting activities provide seniors with a physical activity that uses fine motor skills.
Hello everyone! Thank you for visiting My Activity Resources.
I have spent the last decade working in the senior care field and as an activity director I understand that it can be very difficult finding time to put your heart and soul into quality monthly calendars.
Between family meetings, supervising activities, assisting staff, documentation and juggling many other daily tasks, it's very easy to burn out. That is why I created this site.
My Activity Resources provides pre-filled out activity calendars that once downloaded are easily editable so you can add trips, volunteers, entertainment on your calendar, but not have to worry about trying to fill an entire month's worth of activities. You can also change the listed times to what your departments normal “hours of operation”.
I've never subscribed to the idea of having daily bingo or using the television as a substitute activity. My calendars are filled with fun and out-of-the-box programs that have gotten wonderful feedback...