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

The first Monday in September is Labor Day, a perfect time to talk about former jobs of
residents. You can play a “What My Line?” game. Something like 20 questions.. See
cat=12  for an idea of how to play the game. You would substitute questions about jobs,
however. See  for a list
of questions and other hints on how to play the game. you know I am a big proponent of card games.
There are many mind building games you can play. A favorite of mine is what I call
“playing card bingo” Some people have other names for it. It is played with two decks of
cards. I pass out four cards from one deck to each participant. I use large playing cards
so most people can see the cards. The cards must be face up. Then the caller picks a
card randomly from the second decks and tells the players what it is. If a player has the
card, he turns it face down. The first person to turn all four cards over, wins.

There are many ways to adapt this game so almost anyone can play.
For a large crowd, have two large card decks or give each player three cards instead of
  For lower functioning residents, have them sit with a buddy who can tell them which
card to turn over. The buddy system works for any disability a resident may have. Offer
the buddy a special prize for his help.  

html for more card games.

Two important days in September are International Hug Day on September 10 and
National Gratitude Day on September 21

Hug Day is great because a hug is free, easy to give and makes the giver and recipient
feel good. You can pass out stickers to the staff. When they hug a resident, the resident
gets a sticker. I like to make sure each resident who wants a hug gets a sticker. Only
one sticker per resident is necessary. For ideas for stickers and more information and
poems about hugs go to

I find that many residents enjoy a hug so much that most are ever so grateful if you offer
it as a prize at any activity you are doing.

Another equally good day is National Gratitude Day. As I have said before, anytime you
can offer praise to a resident, go for it. I am sure you can find something nice to say
about each and every resident you serve. When you do compliment them, watch their
faces. I am sure you will see a smile.

I like to sing several songs to go a long with this day. They are “This is the Day”, Count
Your Blessings and “We Gather Together” These are songs we sing around
Thanksgiving, but they apply to show people how grateful you are for even the little
things that they do. If you need the words to these songs and others go to .

Here is a link to some brain boosting fall activities that are sure to keep the minds of
your residents active thus allowing them to hold on to their cognitive skills longer.

Just a note about activities and how important they are in maintaining the highest level
of function in your residents. You know what the old saying is “If you do not use it you
lose it”. I often say this to residents who are reluctant to join in. I have seen this for
myself. The residents who engage in activities seem to do better. They do not have to
engage in the group activities. However recent studies have shown that socializing is
important in keeping dementia at bay and slowing the progression of the disease if
someone already has Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.

So go forth this September reaffirming the fact that the activities you plan and
implement make a huge difference in the lives of your residents.