Susan Berg's Activity Ideas Galore
By Susan Berg, CDP, AD,  BS(COTA/L)
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Susan Berg
Author, Activity Director
Activities Director Blog
Alzheimers Ideas
About Susan

Susan Berg has been a
healthcare professional and
educator for over 20 years. She
is the, activity director, of
many years, at Hunt Nursing
and Rehabilitation Center in
Danvers. While there, she has
gained much dementia care
and activity experience and
knowledge. She has had
special training in dementia
care and dementia activities
through the Alzheimer’s
Association and other
educational forums. Berg is the
author of Adorable
Photographs of Our Baby-
Meaningful, Mind-Stimulating
Activities and More for the
Memory Challenged, Their
Loved Ones, and Involved
Professionals, a book for those
with dementia and an
excellent resource for
caregivers and healthcare
professionals.
FEATURING TONS OF CRAFT AND BULLETIN BOARD SUPPLIES
LOW IMPACT EXERCISE SYSTEM DESIGNED WITH SENIORS IN MIND
Take a look
at Susan's book
Flash Cards are
available  to use
with Susan's Book
Note:  They can also be
used without the book
and are ideal for group
use.
April Activity Ideas

I love sharing my many activity ideas. I just want all to remember that most activities
have to be adapted and modified somewhat to meet the specific needs of your target
audience. You can always leave a comment at http://dementia.today.com if you need
some suggestions on modifying a particular activity for your group or individual.

What does April have in store for activity opportunities?

Here are some relatively unknown days to celebrate that are loaded with activity
possibilities

One event we celebrate is Baseball Day. It is celebrated in the beginning of April. I
usually have it on the day of the Boston Red Sox first game. I am from New England.
You would want to have this activity on the day of your home team’s first game. However
that is not etched in stone. I use suggestions for not so well known holidays as a guide
to when our facility celebrates them. The final date on the activity calendar is the date
that best fits into your activity program.

Let’s get started with the baseball activity celebration description. You can go to http:
//alzact.today.com/2009/02/23/baseball-day/ for some information.

Also go to http://dementia.today.com/2009/02/21/top-mentally-and-physically-
stimulating-activity/  
for a mentally and physically stimulating activity. You can add a baseball facts section to
this by asking easy to more difficult questions about baseball. And then, of course,
sing,”Take Me Out To The Ballgame “

It is always nice to talk about famous artists every now and again. As part of the
Live&Learn group that I discussed last month, I have something called Famous Artist
Review where we look at paintings or drawings of a famous artist intermingled with an
interactive discussion about the artist in question. I usually get one or two easy to
handle books with large pictures in them, from the library. It just so happens that
Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday is in on April 15.

Share facts that your group members can relate to
Here http://dementia.today.com/da-vinci/ is a sample fact sheet. Modify it as necessary.
Make sure to get a book that has some of the pictures of his works or enlarge the
samples shown.

Next celebrating Coin Day can bring many happy moments during a group or 1:1 activity
about coins.

Start with a discussion about coins, remembering to mention all the trivia information
you are going to use later in the activity. Make sure you bring samples of each coin. You
can even include foreign coins if they are available and relevant to the group members

Next you can ask the participant(s) to name all the coins they can think of.

See if each group member that is able can tell you which coins to use to buy a particular
item.

You can do some other coin trivia and reminisce about what things used to cost and
what you could but with a nickel in the “good old days”.

You could have each of the group members try coin tossing. You could have the group
or each participant predict whether heads or tails will come up on one or more tosses.
Then give a prize to the best predictor if you so choose. You could give out a hug as a
prize to each group member just for trying. You would be surprised how many residents
get great joy from receiving a hug from you or another member of the staff.

If real coins are too small for most of the group members to see, have a participant with
fairly good vision be the caller, or make large replicas of the coins out of cardboard.
Remember they do not have to be perfect.

Here are some coin trivia questions
http://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/2007/12/coin_facts_fiction_myths.php

If these questions are too difficult, make up your own such as:
Which president is on an older quarter?
Which coin is the biggest?
Which coin is worth the most money?

If these questions are too difficult, then use questions
giving a choice of two answers, such as:
Which coin is worth 10 cents, the quarter or the dime?

You can have a wishing well or dish and have group members toss coins into it and
make a wish. You could even help their wishes come true if it is possible. Sometimes
you can learn some valuable information about the group members from doing this.

Another idea would be to play a coin counting game such as:
If I have two nickels, how much money do I have?
You get the idea.

Here is another thought, prior to playing the game, you or a helper which could be a
higher functioning resident, write the name of a different coin on a series of cards. Then
you can pass out a card to each participant during the game or discussion.

Use your imagination here. Say that this book costs 30 cents. Then ask who has a card
with the name of a coin written on it that would help us buy this book?
The group would have to work together to come up with the correct amount. You can do
this for a number of items

If necessary give choices to help those having difficulty, come up with a suitable answer.

On another day or at a different time, prior to doing this, you could have some residents
find pictures in magazines of items you can buy that cost a dollar or less.

Then use these pictures while you are playing the game.

You could also show two pictures or items and ask which they think cost 30 cents.

Another idea would be to show an item and ask if they think it costs more or less than
30 cents.

If you want show a number of different items each costing different amounts of money
and ask residents what they think the cost might be?

These are only suggestions. Adapt them so your group will have fun, be somewhat
challenged and successful.

Yes, little known special days in April are full of activity possibilities