The environment plays a large role in encouraging physical and functional activity of residents in your communities. Some of the most common things we find lacking are cues in the environment to promote activity. Things like hand weights, foam swim noodles, elastic bands, stationary bikes, and other exercise equipment are great to have easily accessible for residents to use consistently. Instead of keeping them put away or in one room devoted to activity, consider having some of these items in common areas where a resident or staff member will see it and be prompted to use it while watching television or waiting for a meal or group activity to begin.
Routine and consistency are important when working with people who have dementia. But sometimes, the most fun moments--or the moments when you succeed in motivating a resident to do something that he/she doesn’t usually want to do--are unexpected and spontaneous. Physical activity can be spontaneous too…but you can help it along. Try putting some foam swim noodles in your common area near the television set, or put small weights, foam balls or elastic exercise bands in the dining room (we know you have people who arrive very early for meals!), this may spark residents or staff to do some spontaneous exercise!
We wish all a very Merry Christmas!