Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dementia Twister

I arrived to quite a spectacle.

Plopped square in the middle of the lobby was a mat from the Twister game surrounded by a bunch of people in wheelchairs. WTF? I thought, "Now this is going to be interesting."

Mother Dear was seated against the far wall so I grabbed a spare chair from the chapel and took it over so I could sit next to her. She was about the same, sleeping sideways in the chair, and I pulled out my crossword puzzle. Although I was sure there was going to be entertainment considerably more fulfilling occurring in front of me at any moment.

In came our bubbly Activities Director (AD), she of the newfangled iron ruse. I called over to her that I should have figured she was the one behind the whole scene.

And the scene grew. More residents arrived, stopping out of curiosity. It turned out to be the most well attended game I've seen take place the entire time I've been visiting.

Now I have to say that the job of AD takes a whole lot of patience and just as much ingeniousness. How do you keep 50 or more people entertained for 8 hours a day? Then think about how they are in various levels of mental capability and an equally wide variety of physical capability. I give them credit.

It turns out the game was "Pitching Pennies." The residents all got 3 pennies and she would go around the circle and spin the dial. When it landed on a color, it was up to the resident to toss their pennies one at a time to see if they could get it to land on any of the correct color dots. It was something easy, entertaining, and they could all play at whatever level of health they were at. The AD provided lots of instruction, coaching, assistance, and commentary throughout the game.

I know there are a few readers here that work in assisted living centers. This is a great idea. Easy to execute and popular, too!


Mom said...

What a cool idea.

Modern Social Worker said...

As a former Activity Director, I applaud the creativity of the staff at your mom's facility. Good AD's are a BLESSING in these situations!

I just found your blog and I have to say, it's fantastic! I love the humorous spin you put on the every day events that take place in a long term care facility! I've been in this business for more than a decade and I could write a book on some of the scenarios I've witnessed (with HIIPA guidelines intact, of course) :)

I think its just terrific that you are writing about your experiences and finding the silly side in situations that normally can make other people uncomfortable. Kudos to you and keep writing!

citygirl said...

Awesome. I had no idea where this entry was leading and read it quite eagerly!

Latane Barton said...

That does sound like fun. I think I will tell our staff about it. We just have 17 residents in the Garden where Hubby is so it's easier to keep everyone entertained.

karen said...

i love it. great idea for a game.

Fenix said...

Thats a great idea. I think this may work with children as well