|Current Activities in Geriatric Care
Bill Freiberg, Publisher
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feature stories, specialized
activities for Alzheimer's
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MAIL: Freiberg Press, Inc.
P.O. Box 612
Cedar Falls, IA 50613
It’s spring! And this means 2 things:
Spring cleaning and Spring activities
Ahhh, the smell of spring is in the “organizing your files!” air. It’s the time of year when
thoughts turn to young love, blooming flowers, singing birds and … spring cleaning.
Actually, my thoughts probably wouldn’t turn to spring cleaning if I didn’t have to reach
over the stack of papers on my desk to reach the keyboard.
This is really hard because my arms are so sore from trying to close my overflowing file
cabinet. I’m sure none of you can relate to that, right?
Well, it’s time (for me, at least) to do some serious cleaning out and putting away.
To make it easier, I’ve developed a checklist we can go through together. Just follow
along and check off each item as you complete it.
Clean off the top of your desk.
You’d be surprised to see what a difference it makes to sit down to a clean desk. On my
desk I have a three tiered stackable system, labeled “in”, “out” and “action”. My “action”
file includes my running to-do list, invoices and anything that needs to be filed.
The only other things I keep there are my monitor, keyboard, printer and phone.
That leaves me a clear work surface; most of the time.
• Clean up your computer.
Dust your keyboard, wipe down the CPU and clean your monitor screen.
Now look at your files. Are they organized by subject?
• For example: In my “Calendar” folder I have separate folders for last year and this year.
Inside each of those folders is a folder for each month of that year. In those folders,
I save that month’s calendar and any files that pertain to it, like my “what happened on
this date” document. Delete or save to a disk those files that you no longer need.
• Clean out your desk drawers.
I just opened my center drawer and found, among other things, loose change, four
watches, about a dozen unidentified keys, 17 pens and part of a mini tool set.
Empty everything out and put back only what belongs. Watches go into the lost and
found, pens go to the supply cabinet and the loose change goes into the petty cash
• Clean out your file cabinet. This may take awhile. Go through each hanging folder in
each file cabinet drawer.
Throw out, shred, or archive papers according to their relevance and your state
regulations on record retention.
Make sure each hanging folder is clearly marked with a description of its contents. I find
it very helpful to hang these files in alphabetical order.
• Clean out your storage.
Do you really know what’s in there?
Work with your maintenance team and volunteers to go through the boxes and tubs and
throw out the trash. Label the storage containers when you put them back in. If you’re
feeling really ambitious, make an inventory list of your bigger and more expensive items.
• Disinfect your equipment and supplies.
I’m sure you do this on a regular basis, but now is the time for some deep cleaning.
Wipe down your popcorn machine then run it through 2 cycles with just a little bit of
water in the kettle.
The steam will help clean the insides. Wipe off all your bingo cards and each bingo
ball, even game pieces.
Clean everything you or your residents use in your program. This is also a great time to
make sure your games contain all the pieces necessary to play.
• Clean up your program. In other words, take a look at what worked and what you’d like
to try this year.
Take a hard look at how many activities you offer each day and the times you have them.
Has your population changed significantly in the past year?
Does your calendar reflect those changes? Call all of your volunteer groups to find out if
they intend to continue their commitment in 2010.
I know that looks like a lot of work, but I’ll be doing it, too. I promise, when we’re done,
we’ll all feel ready to take on our Spring activities.
Speaking of Spring activities, I’m looking forward to bringing back some tried and true
ones and adding some new ideas this year, like:
I saw a posting from another activity director last year describing how she put up a map
and used her walking club to cross the United States.
Every time they walked so many laps, they would land in another state and schedule a
travel club meeting to talk about it. What a great idea!
Many of our Alzheimer’s residents love to walk. This is a great opportunity to get them off
the unit and into the fresh air for awhile.
Watch for holes, curbs, or other obstacles and guide your residents around them during
These residents must be watched at all times. Don’t put an Alzheimer resident at the
end of your line!
By now the local high school orchestra should be ready to perform.
Debi Trammell is a full time Activity Director at Ashford Hall, a 220 bed skilled nursing
facility in Texas.
She is responsible for activity planning for the general population and a 40 bed
Alzheimer’s / Dementia unit.
Residents range in age from 26 –100 years old, with a fairly large population of 50-
70 year olds.
Formerly a corporate marketing manager, Debi has been an Activity Professional in
long term care for 9 1/2 years