Activity Director Resources

Activity directors are responsible for planning, organizing and implementing individual and group activities to meet the social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of the residents they serve. To do this, they must think up things to do that involve the residents. They communicate this to them by making a monthly activity calendar. Activity resources offer the activity professionals tools and ideas to make a great activity calendar and run great activities.

Books

There are several books that serve as good resources for the activity director. The first book is "Long Term Care for Activity Professionals and Recreational Therapists, Fifth Edition" by Elizabeth Best Martini, Mary Anne Weeks, and Priscilla Wirth, 2008. This book is an easy to understand and thorough explanation of the workings and day-to-day operations of an activity department. It answers many questions that an activity director may have. It discusses different kinds of group activities and the appropriate resident mix that should be involved. Activity department standards are also discussed. Talking to family members can be difficult. This book gives you pointers on how to do this effectively. Managing your activity department is also explained.

A book specifically for those with memory impairments, including Alzheimer's disease and related dementia, is "Adorable Photographs of Our Baby Book," by Susan Berg, 2006. This book discusses and demonstrates meaningful, mind-stimulating activities for this population of residents that activity directors serve. Using baby pictures is the focus of the book. These baby photographs and the suggested visual conversation-stimulating exercises provide the activity director and his staff with many ideas to have great interactions with all levels of residents with dementia. Even residents who do not have a memory problem enjoy looking at the photographs because they are big and make the residents smile.

"The Positive Interactions Program Of Activities For People With Alzheimer's Disease," by Sylvia Nissenboim, 1998, is a time-saver because this book lays out pre-planned programs for groups and individuals. Even though this book is older, its ideas and suggestions are evergreen. The ideas that are suggested are easy to adapt to most groups or individuals whether they have dementia or not. These activities provide an engaging and upbeat experience for the residents making them happy. There are more than 90 activities discussed in this book for activity directors. The activities focus is on preserving resident's dignity and personal satisfaction. It follows quality of care guidelines.

Internet

Activity directors rely on the Internet to provide up-to-date and different suggestions, tips and resources for running their activity department. The Activity Director's Office is a website that gives activity directors many ideas for writing the monthly activity calendar, answers to questions on appropriate programming, doing physical activities with the residents you serve, running special and holiday events, taking continuing education courses and many other things. You can subscribe to its e-magazine or join its online support group.

The blog, Activities Director, gives the activity director all sorts of ideas, comments and suggestions for making a high-quality activity program. Although many posts are related to residents with dementia, many others apply to all types of residents.

Libraries

Libraries have many resources for activity directors. The best thing about the library is that all the items are free to borrow. If you find a product is just what you are looking for after borrowing it from the library, then you can buy it. The other good thing is that often librarians can get items from anywhere in the country. There are some drawbacks. You may have to wait a few weeks to get something. An item may be checked out or damaged by another patron.