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

Positive thinking day is September 13. Positive thinking is so important especially in a
long term care setting. I am going to devote this month’s article to why positive thinking
is so important and how you can instill positive thinking in the residents you serve.
Positive thinking is a mental attitude that expects good and favorable outcomes. If you
and your residents think positively your mind and theirs will anticipate happiness, joy,
health and a successful result for every situation and action. Whatever the mind
expects, it finds.

Some residents will not accept or believe in positive thinking. They may consider it to be
nonsense. Some people who accept it do not know how to use it effectively to get

When your attitude is positive and you have good feelings, constructive images, and
see in your mind's eye what you want to happen, your eyes become brighter, you walk
taller, your voice is more powerful and you exude happiness. This affects your health in
a positive way.

Negative words, thoughts, and attitude put you in a negative and unhappy mood. When
you think negatively, poisons are released into your blood, which cause more
unhappiness and negativity. This is a sure way to frustration, failure, and

So how are you going to create positive thinking among your residents and get rid of
negative thinking.

Speak positively to the residents – Always focus on what they can do. Use positive
affirmations. Have a bulletin board where you display a positive thought of the day.
When you announce an activity, say something positive and upbeat as part of the
announcement. Distribute greeting cards with positive affirmations at least weekly. Play
CDs, audio and video tapes during down times to remind your residents how to think
positively and how lucky they are. For more ideas and books and tapes that might be
useful to you go to

Remind the residents you serve each day that today is going to be positive. Tell them
that they choose how they think the day will be. If you think things will be good, they
probably will be.

Have the residents keep a gratitude journal. You can either make one collectively and
add information on a regular basis, or those who are capable can have their own
journal. For those confined to their room, part of one to one visits can be to add
something that they are grateful for to the journal. You can also add reasons why you
are grateful for knowing them. For more on gratitude go to

Inspire the residents you serve. Read inspirational stories to them. A good source of
inspirational stories are the “Chicken Sour for the Soul” stories. They always have a
positive message. Relate the stories to their everyday experiences. See how these
stories lift the mood of your residents. Perhaps you and your participants can create
your own Chicken Soup for the Soul” story. For more information and suggestions on
inspiration go to

Every now and then I have what I call a ”kindness group” This is especially a good idea
when you notice that your residents are being nasty to each other or talking about other
residents in a negative way. It is simple to do. Talk about what it means to be kind. Ask
how being kind to someone makes you feel. Kindness is a win win situation. The giver
and receiver of the kindness feel good. This good feeling spreads.
You can also read a story about kindness. A good one is an Aesop’s fable called “The
Lion and the Mouse.” Go to
lion-and-mouse.html  for the story

Another idea for positive thinking has to do with smiling. Smiling is contagious. When
you see others smile, you want to smile yourself.  For ideas for smile activities go to

I am positive you will have great success engaging your residents in the many aspects
of positive thinking, not only in September, but the whole year through.