Susan Berg's Activity Ideas Galore
By Susan Berg, Author, Activity Director 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
Name That Tune - With a Twist
An Easy To Do Activity  That Appeals to a Wide Variety of People

This is a great activity that can be adapted and modified easily.

Everyone loves music and trivia. This activity incorporates both.

First get a list of song titles from the era most potential participants are familiar with.

If you are not familiar with the songs yourself, you may want to purchase a CD or get
some from the library to familiarize yourself with the songs. You may want to use these
CDs during the activity if necessary.

Set up the room if you need to.  Have the CDs ready to play if you need them.

Invite folks to come to the activity.

When I invite residents to an activity, I do not ask them if they want to come. I say, Come
on, lets do something fun, together.  If they are hesitant, I tell them that I need their help.
I have a number of other ways to get resistive folks to an activity. I find as long as you
are running a quality activity, once people gets there, they will enjoy the activity.

After the group is assembled, make sure to greet everyone. Tell your audience how
happy you are that they are there. Greet each person by name. Remember you need to
be enthusiastic about what you are doing

Now you are ready to start the activity

Instead of playing one or two notes or playing the game like hangman, (You could play
these ways as well), you say the first word of the song title. See if anyone can finish the
title. If not, say the second word of the title and so on until someone gets the title. If they
are having a hard time, give other hints. To allow the meek resident a chance, ask the
other members in the group to give the timid person a chance to name the song. Even
if someone else shouts out the title, still ask the shy individual to say the title of the
song. Be extremely complimentary to this person, as well, to boost his/her confidence.

After the song title is guessed, ask, who can sing the song. Sometimes we only sing
the first line. Sometimes we butcher the song, but then we have a good laugh.

Continue playing the game in this manner, singing the familiar songs, or singing them
with a CD, for the allotted time period. I usually do it for about an hour.

Throw in a little trivia if there is a lull in the action. For example, if the song is about
summer, I ask the participants to tell me their favorite season and why they like that
season. I always tell the story of how I hate winter.

I just go with the flow. Thus, the group is different every time it is done.

Easy modifications:

During a particular holiday include some holiday song titles
For example, around Valentines Day, include some love songs; around Christmas
include some Christmas carols etc.
Then after a song title is named, ask if it is a holiday song and why.
Sometimes you get some pretty interesting answers. This is another opportunity for

For lower functioning individuals:

Name two song titles and ask which one starts with the word you just mentioned
Sing the first line of a song. Then see if they can sing the next part.
If they are nonverbal, you can say the answer for them. However before saying the title,
say, I can tell by (name of participant)’s smile that she thinks the title is (whatever the
song title is).  Then you might want to gently squeeze this person’s hand or give him/her
a hug

For hearing impaired individuals:

Have some paper and a magic marker available to write the words down if a participant
is having trouble hearing you. This visual clue may help some others as well. It does
not have to be fancy. .Sometimes those who can hear get annoyed if you have to keep
repeating things. Plus the hearing impaired person misses a lot unless you can
provide nonverbal assistance. You can also provide them with a copy of the lyrics to the
song and point to the words as you are singing them
If there are group members who are visually and hearing impaired, have lots of paper
and write the words in extremely large print.

When you are finishing the activity, make sure you thank all for coming. Tell them what a
good job they did. You might ask what the audiences’ favorite part of the activity was

Click here for song titles and lyrics
Sarah’s Favorite Songs

You can also do an Internet search for song titles, purchase a song book, or get song
suggestions from your potential audience on another occasion.
Flash Cards are
available  to use
with Susan's Book
Note:  They can also be
used without the book
and are ideal for group