Cheesy Activities in LTC

  1. I would please like to post this here to see if I get more responses...

    The activities director and coordinator at the LTC facility where I am employed work very hard, but they have been there many years and it seems they need some new ideas. The activities are so childish it is embarrassing.

    I've heard of once a man twice a child but this takes the cake.

    They buy decorations at Wal-Mart that are used to decorate 2nd grade classrooms and put them up around the nursing home. The activities consist of bingo and church. Today, the activities coordinator came and put an announcement on my desk advertising "National PJ Day" and a "slumber" party. I don't think I'm just being no fun or a stick in the mud or unappreciative of their efforts...the DON was there and said, "this is ridiculous." They act like they are entertaining 6 year olds, not adults. It is becoming very annoying to me but I would hate to burst their bubble or rain on their parade, they're very good people (but come on!)

    Christmas is cheesy, especially the employee Christmas party. They buy a bunch of cheap crummy gifts for the party and I know it's the thought that counts but I can't believe there was much thought put into those gifts...

    I would like to leave them an anonymous letter with some constructive criticism and suggestions on how to update their system. Can anyone give me any ideas? I was thinking at Christmas, rather than a bunch of junky things they could have a few really nice ones and just let everyone enjoy the food and company at the party, rather than worrying about everyone getting a gift for the sake of getting a gift.

    If all anyone has to offer is a smart remark about how I need to worry about being a nurse and let the activities people do their jobs just save it. I'm not trying to be "better" or "superior" to anyone, it's a matter of seeing the patients treated in ways that honor their status as elderly people in a dignified way, not with big plastic childrens' decorations.
  2. Visit Jo Dirt profile page

    About Jo Dirt

    Joined: May '04; Posts: 3,422; Likes: 1,298
    LTC
    Specialty: 9 year(s) of experience

    31 Comments

  3. by   lpnflorida
    my grandmother use to look forward to playing bingo in the nursing home, it was a highlight for her.
  4. by   rhondaa83
    Jo Dirt, are you new to long term care?(most) People who are in the nursing love to play Bingo and play ball and interact on a young child's level. If you try to make it more complex, like I would like at my young age of 43, the residents would be confused, they can only deal with simple things. You are so quick to complain, so please come up with some ideas of your own about what would make them happy. Also you can not just give a few gifts to only a few people. Someones feelings would be hurt if they did not get a gift.
  5. by   rnmi2004
    I like Bingo, too.

    Maybe it's cheesy to you, but not to others?

    If you think the residents are offended by the decorations could you perhaps volunteer to find some more age-appropriate ones?
  6. by   Jo Dirt
    Quote from rhondaa83
    Jo Dirt, are you new to long term care?(most) People who are in the nursing love to play Bingo and play ball and interact on a young child's level. If you try to make it more complex, like I would like at my young age of 43, the residents would be confused, they can only deal with simple things. You are so quick to complain, so please come up with some ideas of your own about what would make them happy. Also you can not just give a few gifts to only a few people. Someones feelings would be hurt if they did not get a gift.
    I'm not talking about gifts for the nursing home people, I'm talking about the employee Christmas party. Why not have a drawing to win the gifts worth having? When the employees are hoping their name isn't drawn because that means they will have to take that junk home, then something isn't right.

    And there should be more to life than bingo and Bible tapes. I heard one patient, as a matter of fact, say, "We're going to play bingo...again."

    You "think" they want to play a perpetual game of bingo and get hit in the head with an inflatable beach ball while listening to silly music they would never have listened to otherwise, but likely it is doing more for the people running the show than it is for those old people.

    And here we go, you're so quick to complain...nanana...come up with some ideas on your own...well, that's why I came here. But obviously you aren't interested in sharing ideas as asking pointed questions.

    I've worked in a nursing home 9 years, and I can certainly tell you big smiley faces on the wall is not preserving their "dignity."
  7. by   Whispera
    I've found that patients in LTC enjoy bingo and gentle exercise and church and reminiscing about all sorts of things (favorite Easter memory, describe your spouse when you first met him/her, tell about your hobby)

    coffee and cookies? can they make the coffee and cookies? or any other types of food?

    can they make the holiday decorations?

    pet therapy?

    can they give suggestions for what they'd like to do and have the suggestions be honored?
  8. by   Jo Dirt
    Quote from rnmi2004
    I like Bingo, too.

    Maybe it's cheesy to you, but not to others?

    If you think the residents are offended by the decorations could you perhaps volunteer to find some more age-appropriate ones?
    Even the DON says it's cheesy, and if even the DON says it, trust me, it's cheesy.

    This isn't a bingo debate, I don't have anything against bingo...but could there be another activity? Could they give out prizes other than candy so the diabetics don't have a blood sugar of 500? It doesn't matter if it is "sugar-free" apparently, eating a lot of it can knock their glucose readings off the charts.

    I'm not sure a lot of the residents wouldn't care what their surroundings look like, but some do. The ones who care should be the ones who choose.

    Don't some colleges offer degrees in activities?

    I'm thinking there will be a new generation coming into the nursing home who will not be at all impressed. I'm thinking internet cafes, juice bars, dinner and wine evenings...live guitar player, maybe (not the out of tune church from down the street.
  9. by   care_baer
    The LTC facility that I work at does crafts, baking, painting, puzzles, word games, and astrology readings. They have the regular things as well like bingo, exercises, movie night, and church. They also do outings to the beach, or a nice restaurant that residents can sign up for. This isn't a regular LTC facility though, they have a library, garden, and stores to shop in.
  10. by   Ima Nurse
    My grandmother was in a LTC facility. I remember one of their activities being painting ceramics. Just an idea. . . not sure what the budget is. . .
  11. by   PICNICRN
    My Grandma is in a LTC facility and she really seems to enjoy the activities they provide- although I must say her favorite is BINGO!! Ha Ha! But they play for cash! She won $2 last week off a coverall! Other things they do she enjoys is when locals come in an play piano or guitar and have a "sing a long", she looks forward to "spa day" where they get their nails done, they do TONS of crafts like making ornaments at christmas and such, scrapbooking, they have movie nights, poker/peanuckle-sp? night,they have cooking classes(usually they bake something and eat it with coffee) They go on quite a few outings a year like baseball games, craft fairs, or museums.
    When I look around the place I really don't notice it being too "cheezy"- I mean some of the holiday decorations look pretty old but I assume they are on a budget.
    As for your employee holiday party... it would't hurt to suggest to try something new- maybe you could form a party planning committe? You're right spend the money from the cheesy gifts on a nice ham or cake and enjoy each other's company.
    I can tell you really do care about these residents!
  12. by   nkochrn
    I have always found several of the LTC activities to be childish and a matter of dignity, excluding BINGO of course.

    I do think our activites director does an excellent job though. Every month there is a resident's council meeting. I have listened in on these and the residents are asked what kind of new activites they would like. They actually made a list from A-Z and thought of an activity they'd enjoy using each letter. At each meeting they plan a Resident's Choice meal where the resident's decide the menu. I know that one of these times they decided on Pot Roast with Potatoes.

    The women who enjoy embroidering (sp?) were all given hand towels to embrodier and those are now used at their tables in place of 'bibs'

    They along with the staff enjoy word games. The director picks a word, such as SPRING. Then they all think of words that start with S and just shout them out. They do this with each letter.

    We are near a casino and several residents used to take a trip there every month or two with the activites director.

    There have also been times that the men who were able were taken on fishing trips and a local pond.

    I'm pretty sure that when they play Penny ante there is something to do with reminiscing and telling old stories, not sure exactly how it works.

    I have heard of LTC facilites purchasing Nintendo Wii's and our DON would love to but hasn't talked the administrator into it yet. I'm afraid there would be some issues with some of our younger high school staff using it. We do have a resident who used to really enjoy bowling and I feel that this would be VERY therapeutic for him as he's not able to go anymore and has some problems with low self esteem b/c he feels he can't do anything any more.

    There is always a puzzle set up by the nurses station that several residents in particular enjoy working on.

    Several school groups including home schooled kids come in to make things with the residents, so it's a little more like the resident helping a child make something and then that child gives their artwork to the resident. I don't find this as degrading since they are working to help a child with it.

    Another activity that I've thought would be good is a book club, we have a few residents that like to read and I think a few staff members could join them in this even if it means actually reading the book to them then discussing it.

    Of course it's always harder to plan activites for the other people who can't handle a lot of these. The confused patients tend to do a lot more of the seemingly degrading activites.
  13. by   trixie333
    A little Kareoke with songs from the 40,s, 50,s, and 60,s and broadway musicals would make for memorable events....everyone relates to their favorite music...
  14. by   VivaLasViejas
    I think all of us who work in LTC would do well to understand that previous generations did not consider bingo, card games and so on to be demeaning or childish at all.

    I'm old enough to remember helping my mother and grandmother clean house from top to bottom in preparation for Saturday afternoon canasta sessions with their friends. This was a big event for ladies of their time, as were weekly trips to the beauty shop, bingo nights, bowling leagues, and church suppers. These were all part of the social customs our forebears counted on, even in hard times, for a few moments of enjoyment and bonding .........why ever would we want them to give up those entertainments?

    I do think that some of the birthday and holiday activities can be a little hard on the dignity---I personally cringe inside whenever I see a 90-something wearing one of those stupid birthday hats---but I know if I were a LTC resident, I'd rather have "cheesy" decorations than none at all to relieve the institutional look and feel of most facilities. As for the employee parties, I see that as a separate issue that should be discussed in a different thread, but that's just me.

    In the meantime, I would hope it is possible to discuss this, and even to disagree if necessary, in a professional manner and to leave off posting cheap shots and put-downs. Thank you.

close