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
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
Activity Ideas for October

Here are some suggestions for a few outstanding activities for October.

Among other things, October is family history month. There are so many things you can
do that relate to a residents’ family history.

The obvious first thing to do is to ask the resident about his family. If able, he can tell
you about his brothers and sisters, mother and father, grandparents, great
grandparents even his children and grandchildren and any one else in his family that
he can remember.

You can invite family members to bring in photographs if thy have any.

You can get some ideas on how to make a family tree for free by going to

Besides making a family tree you can discuss special days that their families used to
celebrate. You can talk about their birthday and birthdays of other relatives. You may find
that a number of residents have family members with the same or similar birthdays to
theirs. You can talk about family traditions at a family birthday party. Have the residents
compare special ways they used to celebrate birthdays. You can also discuss other
special days like graduations, weddings, and anniversaries. Ask the participants what
other special days they celebrate with their families. Encourage them to share any
traditions their families may have for these special days. You can write down the
information. Then refer to it during October or any other time you decide to have a
discussion about families

October 4 is National Golf Day. There are many activity possibilities for this. You can talk
about the game of golf and famous golfers. Go to
com/2010/08/national-golf-day.html for information about this.

You could have a putting golf game by using a practice automatic golf putting machine.
In order for all the residents to see the action, have them sit in rows on either side of the
person who is putting.

October 19, 1814, the “Star Spangled Banner” was first sung. Start an activity by singing
this song. Have a discussion about when you might sing this song. You can have a
discussion including facts about the “Star Spangled Banner”. Go to
//  for information
about the “Star Spangled Banner”

Whenever I hear the “Star Spangled Banner”, I think of a baseball game or other
sporting event. Because of this, I like to share this information with my audience. Then
we talk about the sporting events of the season. This is football, the end of baseball
season including a discussion of the World Series, and the start of basketball and
hockey season. For ideas about activities for the World Series, go to

You can have all sorts of sporting events to enhance a group activity. You can devise a
trivia baseball game. Draw a baseball diamond on a large whiteboard or poster.

Divide the group into two teams. Ask trivia questions about sports, the star spangled
banner or anything you wish. You can designate a person on one team to answer a
question. You could have one person throw a di or dice to see who gets the highest
number. This team goes first.

Either one person or the whole team answers the question. If the correct answer is
given, then the base runner symbol advances one base. You can draw a base runner
on the white board or tape a marker on the poster board. You may need up to four
markers for each team.

Each time a contestant or team answers a question correctly, the base runner goes to
first base and the runners ahead of it advance one base. When a base runner reaches
home, a run is scored. To simplify things, you can just have the team score a run for
each question that is answered correctly. The other team is up to bat (answer a trivia
question) when the first team misses three questions. Make sure to have some
challenging questions so the second team gets a turn. You can modify this to the level
of the audience.

If they are lower functioning, have easier questions and let each team member have a
turn answering a question. Other members of the group may shout out the answer.
That is OK because you can have only the designated person or team say the answer
for it to count as a run.

You can also modify this for football by saying that each time a question is answered
correctly, the football moves 10 yards closer to that team’s scoring end zone. When the
end zone is reached, the team scores six points. Then they have the chance to score an
extra point by answering another question correctly. You will need to draw a football field
on the whiteboard or poster or have the audience use their imagination.

This game can also be modified for basketball by having the team that answers the
question correctly score a basket or two points. You can have the person who
answered the question, pretend he is throwing a basketball or he can throw a ball into a
laundry or other basket.

You can designate which team or person answers or it can be the first person or team
that answers be the one who scores the points.

For any of these games, you can even the playing field be asking questions that match
the ability of the people playing.

You can also modify these games that best match the capabilities of your facility: i.e.
space and supplies you have available.  

Using any or all of these activities is sure to make your October Activity calendar
exciting. As with other activities I have suggested I the past, these October activity
suggestions can be modified to be used at other times throughout the year.

For more ideas for October go to