8 things to look for in a GREAT dementia activity calendar

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Go into any dementia care community and you will find a calendar of events. In many communities, this calendar is pretty lackluster—and that is a shame. Here are some things you should be looking for in a great activity calendar.

1. Different types of events on different days. Monday should not look the same as Tuesday. Tuesday should not look the same as Wednesday. 

2. While the events are different on each day, the timing of these events should be the same. For example, maybe physical activity happens at 10 AM and 3 PM every day, while crafts are at 2 PM.

3. There should be outings scheduled for the residents. Yes, even for the residents with dementia.

4. Entertainers should be a regular part of the schedule of events. People should be coming in from outside (volunteers and paid performers) to entertain the residents.

5. Snack times. If it isn’t on the calendar, make sure you ask about their snack offerings during the day.

6. There should be weekend programming—at least a little bit! Great communities have program directors who work on the weekends, as well as program directors that work during the week.

7. Is bingo and “watch a movie” part of the regular calendar? That’s not very innovative. There have to be other options for the residents that don’t include sitting around all day.

8. Finally, are these calendar events actually happening during the day? There will always be things that don’t go as planned, but most of these calendar events should be happening on time throughout the day.

Need activity ideas? Check out my Pinterest page.

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Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of two published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

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