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.
This afternoon i spoke with Susan Dempster of Fun to Create. She's a great entertainer who specializes in hands on craft programs. She said for most directors beyond not having the budget to create a fully stocked arts and crafts department, space is a huge issue. Especially when you need to buy a ton of supplies for a program you might only run once in a while.
As activity directors we shouldn't think of entertainers as a "break" from our job (though, sometimes it's nice to have) but as a "pinch hitter" who can fill in the gaps in our own skill sets. Most importantly, we should remember that entertainers are a great resource in and of themselves.
Next time you have Susan (or any other entertainer) come to your facility, take a minute to pick their brain and see how you can carry on the great programs they do into your day-to-day activity calendar.