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
October Activity Ideas

Opportunities for activities in October are many. However I am going to talk all about
apples in this article.

Let me start by saying that in a new study, discussed in the Aug. 4 issue of the journal
Neurology, dementia decline was delayed by 1.29 years for the person who participated
in 11 activities per week compared to the person who participated in only four activities
per week.

You as a healthcare professional working in long term care, can use this information to
get your residents more involved in activities.

Lets start by talking about some apple discussion activities.

You can talk all about apples. Here is a link to
some outstanding apple facts.

See how many types of apples your audience can name. Go here
http://activitiesdirector. for a list of types of

Laughter is the best medicine even when you are talking about apples. For some great
apple jokes go to

There are many easy crafts that center around apples. This craft has residents make
cards with their picture as part of the card and another one focuses on a poster that a
resident can make using the saying “You are the apple of my eye”.
Go here
dementia_25.html for all the details.

Here is another apple craft.
  1. You will need:
  2. Red poster board
  3. Scissors
  4. Hole punch
  5. 6" yarn
  6. Glue
  7. Apple potpourri

Here is how to make it.
  1. Cut an apple shape out of poster board. Punch hole in the top of the apple and
    thread the yarn through it. Drizzle glue onto one side and sprinkle potpourri into
    glue. Let dry and repeat for the other side. Hang the apple by the yarn.
  2. There are a number of precautions you should take when you are doing this
    craft with a group.
  3. Make sure no one tries to eat the potpourri, glue or paper. Potpourri is the one
    most often mistaken for food.
  4. Check for allergies to the potpourri

A cooking activity using apples is a good choice for an activity. You can use apples or
applesauce as the main ingredient or as an addition to something else.
Here is an oatmeal making activity that uses apples or applesauce.

Here are two more cooking ideas using apples that can be easily modified to
accommodate a variety of diets

Apple Butter
  1. 3 1/2 cups apple sauce,
  2. sugar,  (the formula is: sugar equal to half the amount of applesauce) Use
    sugar substitute for folks who are diabetic
  3. A heaping tablespoon of cinnamon,
  4. Half a teaspoon of cloves ( optional)
  5. Cook it on low all day in a crock pot!

This is especially good to make on a cold fall day. The aroma of it cooking is a true
sensory experience.

The Frosty Apple
  1. 1 pint vanilla ice cream(Use no sugar added icecream for folks with diabetes)
  2. 1 quart naturally sweet apple cider (Use Healthy Balance Apple Drink  or another
    low sugar apple beverage for folks with diabetes)
  3. 4-6 scoops vanilla ice cream (optional)
  4. Freshly ground nutmeg

  1. Let a pint of vanilla ice cream soften at room temperature or microwave it for 20
    seconds. Put ice cream and cider into a blender or food processor and blend
    until frothy and well mixed.
  2. Stir in nutmeg. Pour into tall glasses and top with a scoop of ice cream
    (optional). Remember to add the appropriate amount of thickening agent for
    those on nectar or honey thick liquids
  3. Sprinkle nutmeg on top. Yield 6 one-cup servings.

Making apple smiles is an edible craft

  1. Apples cut into eighths- wedge style
  2. I put lemon juice on them so they do not turn brown
  3. Peanut butter -use another sticky substance for those allergic to nuts
  4. Mini marshmallows or small pieces of apples

  1. Smear peanut butter or substitute on the apple wedge
  2. Put marshmallows or substitute near the top.
  3. When they are complete the finished product looks like a smile.
  4. For those on ground diets, peel the apples, cut the apples and bake them so
    they are soft before use.
  5. For those who are on a sugar restricted diet
  6. For those on puree diets, put some yogurt or vanilla pudding on a dish of
    applesauce shaped like a smile.
  7. For lower functioning residents, talk about the color of apples. Maybe you could
    have some real apples for them to see touch and feel.

You could have other large items that are red, green or yellow(the color of apples) for
the residents to talk about. You could also have some red material of different textures
for the residents to feel. Many lower functioning residents like the feel of certain
materials and like to rub big pieces of material.

If you need some ideas unrelated to apples go here