How-To Articles

How to Get Your Activity Staff
to Plan Your Activities

It’s a huge bonus to have an activity staff that can help with the planning of a senior activity program.

Not sure how to get your activity staff to begin planning activities? Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Find Out What Your Staff Members Want…and Give It To Them. Discover what your staff members want most from their jobs (e.g., ability to be creative, more one-on-one time with residents) and give it to them. They will be happy to give you what you want when they see that you are giving them what they want. Don’t believe me? Well, think about it. Wouldn’t you want to do more for your boss if you knew that she was trying to accommodate your needs?

2. Get Them Inspired. “Watch out for inspired people; it’s amazing the things that they can accomplish!” Get your staff members inspired to want to do more for your residents and your activity program. One of the easiest ways to get inspired is to visit a local senior facility that has a reputation for having a great activity program. By seeing their activities and how happy their residents are, your staff will want to do more to raise the quality of your activity program.

3. Challenge Your Staff. Persuade your staff to step out of their comfort zone by creating one new activity idea each month that you can include on the activity calendar. Encourage your staff to use their history of working with the residents to develop a new and exciting idea that your residents will enjoy.

4. Host Mini Stand-Up Meetings With Staff. Make your staff feel like they are a part of the process by having a short morning meeting with them about the day’s activities and to foresee any potential problems or concerns for the day. This simple, 5-minute meeting not only shows them that they are an important part of the program, but it also may encourage them to become more involved by sharing their opinions.

5. Loosen the Leash. Encourage your staff members to become more assertive in creating their own activities. Remind them that the amount of time that they spend directly with residents qualifies them to know better than anyone else what residents want.

6. Ask For Help. Don’t keep activity issues or the residents’ complaints to yourself. Tell your staff about them and ask them for their ideas on how to solve the problem. In addition, at the end of each month ask staff members for their advice on how to make your activity program better for the following month.

7. Create a New Activity for Staff Members. Involve your staff members more by creating new features of your activity program that relate to the interests of your staff. For example, if you have a staff member who loves airplanes, start an Airplane Club featuring a reminiscing activity about past airplane travel, a tactile activity to assemble model airplanes, or even a scenic ride to your local airport, all led by your staff member.

8. Host a Brainstorming Session. Once per month, host an informal brainstorming session to get your staff members more comfortable with sharing their ideas. For example, consider getting together for lunch to toss around ideas for the upcoming month.

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