|A+ Activities with Jolene Ewert
Jolene Ewert, Executive Director
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Jolene has enjoyed working in
the healthcare field in such
capacities as Marketing
Director, Activity Director and
Coordinator of Dementia
programs. She currently holds
an Administrator's License and
works as an Activity Consultant.
She is the author of A+
Activites and owner and
operator of the A+ Activities
website, a website dedicated
to Activity Professionals that
has been in circulation for over
The A+ Activities E-Newsletter is available
for only $1.50 a month or $18.00 for a year.
Each month you will be emailed a
newsletter with activity planning ideas such
as sensory stimulation, men's groups, crafts,
trivia and many more! Don't pass on this
great resource! Visit the A+ Activities
for more information or email Jolene at
|Featuring supplies for
|ESPECIALLY DESIGNED WITH SENIORS IN MIND
|FEATURING TONS OF BULLETIN BOARD AND CRAFT SUPPLIES
|We now have available 10
holiday themed bingo cards with
hand-drawn images, a
crossword puzzle, a wordsearch
puzzle and a coloring page.
They are available for only $10
which includes shipping and
The Easter themed pack is currently
available and can be purchased through
my site at
or an invoice can be requested
from me at
Creative Ways to Bring Residents and Staff
Creating a family environment is beneficial to both residents and staff. The staff will feel
more connected to the residents and be more conscientious in their work. The
residents will feel more at home and at ease in their surroundings. So let’s bridge the
gap and achieve a win-win situation.
MOTHER’S DAY COOKBOOKS
Bring everyone together by creating Mother’s Day Cookbooks! Prior to Mother’s Day start
collecting recipes from staff and residents. You can work on this as a group with the
residents and take notes while they share some of their favorite recipes with the group.
Ask staff to bring in some of their family favorites from home. Combine them all together
in a cookbook with an “about the author” section for each recipe including name of the
contributor and their affiliation to the facility: resident, office manager, caregiver, cook,
etc. and why this recipe is their favorite or special to them. Bind all of the recipes
together in a cookbook and have them available on Mother’s Day for all to enjoy.
Many old radio scripts are available for free at http://www.genericradio.com/library.php
This could prove to be a fun facility activity. Staff and residents should be encouraged to
participate. Make an afternoon out of it and take turns acting out different roles. You will
need an announcer and refreshments to top off the event. If you decide to hold the event
in the evening you could also include the families of staff and residents.
RESIDENTS TO THE RESCUE
Whether your facility consists of 5 or 500 residents, there are bound to be differences
among them. Use the diversity of your residents to program for them. They will get to
know one another and learn something new! This program also helps staff learn more
about the residents they care for. Since the program will be more focused on "them",
residents will be more likely to attend and more likely to actively participate. Here are
some ideas to use with your residents:
WHERE IN THE WORLD:
Ask your residents what their nationalities are. Create a world map on a bulletin board
or on the hallway wall. Write your residents' names on separate pieces of paper and
post the papers around the world map. Using pieces of string, connect each resident
with the country or countries that represent their nationality. This can be a very
impressive passive program for residents to see. It shows your residents how much
they have in common and often can spark conversation between them.
THE QUESTION GAME
Compose a list of questions that relate to the different components of diversity
(race/ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, age, socio-economic status). You can
find some really great questions in The Book of Questions. Put the questions in a hat
and have each resident pick one, read it aloud and then answer it. This activity allows
your residents to learn about more one another and sometimes they even learn
something new about themselves.
RESIDENT & STAFF JEOPARDY
The activity director collects 5 items about each resident and staff member and holds a
series of Jeopardy games over several weeks where participants compete by stating, in
the form of a question, information about each other. The winner gets a prize of some
sort, and participants are encouraged throughout the tournament to continue to find out
things about each other. Even those watching, after being eliminated, continue to learn
about their fellow residents and staff members.
THE STORY OF MY NAME
Where does your name come from? Share the story of where your name comes from
and what it means. Everyone's name has a surprisingly interesting origin. Be sure to
have a book of names on hand to help those who may not know much information on
their name origin. Encourage residents to share stories of how their parent’s came up
with their name or how they acquired nicknames.
RIVER OF LIFE
Give each resident and/or staff member a large sheet of butcher paper. Provide
crayons, markers, pens and pencils. Have each person draw their “river of life”. Include
any important milestones they would like to share with the group: hometown, schools,
work, children, marriage etc. Basically the river they took to get to this point in their lives.
Then go around in a circle and have each person explain their river of life.
Autograph Bingo is one of the best get to know each other activities for large groups. To
prepare mark off a sheet of paper with 5 rows and 5 columns, so there are 5 rows of 5
squares. Write a fact in each square. These facts can include humorous or bizarre
things. Here are some sample autograph bingo questions to get you started:
• Speaks more than one language
• Has been in a front-page newspaper article
• Likes ____ (anchovies, artichokes, spinach, etc)
• Can name the 25th president of the United States (William McKinley)
• Has been to ______ (Alaska, Europe, Australia, Hawaii, China, etc)
• Has been on a cruise
• Has gone skydiving
• Has gone scuba diving
• Has more than one sister
• Has more than one brother
• Has both a brother and a sister
• Is an only child.
• Has climbed a named mountain
• Has more than one pet
• Has eaten something strange, on a dare
• Has done something strange, on a dare
• Has been nude in a public place
• Has been to a nude beach
• Is a grandparent
• Is a aunt/uncle
• Is related to someone here
• Has lived in a foreign country
• Went to school with someone famous
• Has been a waiter/waitress
• Has worked at an unusual occupation
• Is not wearing _______ (socks, undershirt, makeup, etc.)
• Has a calendar in their pocket or purse
Creative facts make for the most interesting games. Like traditional bingo, you can
mark the center square as a “Free Space”. After you are finished preparing the table,
print out enough copies for everyone.
Instructions for Play
Give each person a pen or pencil and an Autograph Bingo card. Players are to ask a
person to autograph squares that represent something that applies to them. Each
person may only sign a card once, so people will interact with as many people as
possible. To Bingo, a person must collect five autographs in a row, either horizontally,
vertically, or diagonally.
Once a player shouts “Bingo!” everyone stops, and the person must introduce the
people who signed his or her sheet. It may be fun to ask each person to explain their
fact. After the initial bingo, continue play to determine second, third, and fourth places.
Optionally, you may want to offer prizes for each place.
If it turns out that a fact does not apply to anyone in your group, either have everyone
pencil in a new fact, or mark it as a "Free Space".