Dedicated to helping Activity Professionals with the daily operation of their department.
by Debbie Hommel, BA, CRA, ACC, Executive Director of DH Special Services.
Let Debbie answer your
Activity Questions
About Debbie

Debbie Hommel, BA, CRA, ACC,
is the Executive Director of DH
Special Services. She is a
Certified Activity Consultant on
State and National level, with
over twenty-seven years of
experience in providing direct
care and consultation to long
term care, medical day care,
assisted living, and ICF/MR
facilities throughout New Jersey,
New York, Maryland, and
Pennsylvania. She is an
experienced trainer and
workshop presenter, conducting
a variety of seminars throughout
the Tri-State area for the Activity
Professional, Administrator, and
allied healthcare professional.
Debbie Hommel is an active
member of Activity Professional
Associations on State and
National levels. She is ACC
certified through the NCCAP.
She is a founding member of
the New Jersey Activity
Professionals' Association,
serving terms as Vice President
and President. She received the
Weidner Lifetime Achievement
Award in 1994 and the
Monmouth & Ocean County
Activity Professionals Life
Achievement Award in 1999.
Providing Internet Resources
for Activity Professionals
in Long Term Care Settings

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The Activity Director's Office
All Rights Reserved

Putting the "Special" in Special Event

Planning special events and parties is an important responsibility for the activity department. A
responsibility that cannot be appreciated until presented with the daunting task of coordinating
all the details. Consider the following list of tasks which should be reviewed when planning
parties, special events
and large gatherings

Purpose :

Why are you having this event? To celebrate, recognize, or just get together and have fun?
The goal of the event will direct many of your decisions.

Budget :

One of your first questions should be - how much to I have to spend? This will impact upon
your entire planning process.

Entertainment :

A party isn't a party without some "noise". The entertainment should compliment the purpose.
For example, a fashion show may have a back ground piano player, while a seasonal party
may have a sing-a-long/dance entertainer.

Food :

Refreshments also contribute to the success of your gathering. The visual presentation, as
well as substance, is an important aspect of special event planning. Establishing an alliance
with the food service department will allow for cooperative efforts in party planning.

Decorations :

A special event is a visual event. Balloons, tablecloths, banners and other visual indicators of
the festivities are important.


Interacting with staff in the planning stages contributes to a team effort. Communicating plans
to the residents/clients promotes anticipation. Information can be shared through meetings,
memos, posters, written invitations and facility newsletters.

Agenda :

There should be a "master plan". Working from lists, delegating tasks and following through on
assignments maintains control and contributes to success on the day of the event. Creating a
time line for completing tasks helps manage all the detail. Having an written agenda for the
event which coordinates the program, once it is underway, prevents chaos and conflict.

Public Relations :

Sharing good news about the life in your facility and center is something every facility should
strive for. Inviting the photographers to cover the event should be attempted. Don't forget to
assign someone to take photos the day of the event!

Evaluation :

Before you know it - it's over! Before the dust settles, ask yourself what would you have done
differently. If this is to become an annual event or similar parties are planned, make notes of
what was successful and suggestions for changes.
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