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
August Activity Ideas

There are some amazing activities that you can do in August. Some people say that
August days are the dog days of summer. Here is another opportunity to use this activity  from January.

The first Sunday in August is National Watermelon Day. I may not celebrate it on its
actual day due to staffing issues. I often take what I call activity director’s license. This
means that I may celebrate the more obscure holidays on a day that is best for the staff
and residents in the nursing home.

Any way on what I designate as Watermelon Day, I have a watermelon party complete
with juicy sliced watermelon for all to share. However before we eat the watermelon, we
talk about some watermelon trivia. Go here
com/2009/06/watermelontrivia.html for some watermelon information.

Before the day of the party, I like to do this easy arts & crafts project. I like to have the
capable residents do this. This is one of those multilevel projects where there is a job
for everybody Go here
for more information and pictures.

On or about the same day as National Watermelon Day is International Friendship Day.
This is truly a marvelous day. It is a good time to reinforce how nice it is for all, at the
nursing home or facility you work at, to be friends. Here is some thoughts about friends,
proverbs and poems

Going hand in hand with International Friendship Day is Smile Week which is the
second full week in August. This is a great opportunity to have all kinds of activities that
make you smile. In my book, 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, I discuss some smile activities related to a
picture of a baby smiling. For a preview of this go to

There are other things you can do as well. I like to have our residents make a collage
with smiling faces. You can have the higher functioning residents cut out smiling faces
from old magazines. Then have the other residents paste the smile pictures on colored

An even easier project is to have the residents draw or paint smiling faces and then
describe what makes them smile. These kinds of activities hinge on the capabilities of
your residents. You always want your activities to be success oriented and failure free.

We celebrate Lemon Day in August also. My favorite thing to do for this day is to make a
big pitcher of lemonade for everyone to share. It could be a simple cooking project. You
can have some people squeezing lemons, some people measuring sugar or no
calorie sweetener. Let everyone take a turn mixing the pitcher of lemonade. If this is too
complicated, just buy some instant lemonade mix and whip up a pitcher of it. You can
buy a no sugar added brand for your diabetic residents. You can also do a combination
of instant and homemade. Interestingly enough, this tastes almost as good as making
it from scratch.

Here is a good lemonade recipe and some lemon trivia
com/2009/06/lemonade-arefreshing-summer-dink-for.html for you to talk about while
you are making the lemonade.

Sometimes I have the lemonade at another event like a horse racing activity that we do.
I have an old video tape of 40 horse races that I use. I also have pictures of the horses
in the race that we talk about before each race. The residents bet on the horse they
think is going to win. Adapting the games so more people are successful is a good
idea so I give them a choice of three horses instead of the 12 running in each race.
Each participant can bet a nickel on the horse he/she thinks is going to win. As the race
is playing, I give a loud play by play although the announcer describes the action. I
make it more fun by focusing on who bet on the winning horses. We have a great time.
Either during intermission or after the races for the day are complete, we each have a
tall cool glass of lemonade and pretend we are at the track enjoying the action. The
game is called Lets Go To The Horse Races made by Parker Brother in 1987. I saw
that the game is still available on Ebay and at a few other places.

If you do not have this game that is fine because you can have the lemonade after a
different activity, as part of a discussion/trivia session, or as part of a Live&Learn activity
that I discussed in the article, The Magic of Activities in March .

I hope I have given you some inspiration for completing you August activity calendar.