Using an activity calendar for seniors with dementia is an excellent way to communicate with your residents. The larger format is easier for them to read and, when it is posted in gathering areas, it is easily accessible and lets everyone see what’s going on in the community.
Incorporating the activity calendar on a large board with other information your residents are most interested in and will have questions about — “What day is it? What is it like outside? What is going on today?” — is an ideal format to address their specific needs.
When you present Date & Weather boards with the full month’s calendar and current day’s activities in an organized, uncluttered display, you will be helping your residents to notice, understand and perhaps even remember some of what they read. The boards are an ideal way to show guidance; a stroll down the hallway, for example — from the activity board to the dining room (where the menu board is).
What are the key components of an activity calendar for seniors with dementia? Consider these four “Es”…
- Easy to Display/Easy to Use: Whether you opt for just one large monthly activity calendar or choose to incorporate other types of information as well. Larger displays are uncluttered; there’s more room for larger text, bright colours and fun, engaging pictures or graphics. Residents are more apt to notice the information and take an interest in what is going on.
- Elegant: Professional displays that complement the decor and ambiance of the community reinforce the relevance and importance of the information. The calendars’ format will “fit” and not feel like they belong in a preschooler’s classroom.
- Engaging: Clean, organized presentations that are displayed prominently in key gathering areas of the residence invite participation and conversation — not just among the residents themselves, but for visitors and families as well. A great tool for finding something relevant to talk about.
- Effective: Done well, the best method for communicating with your residents — in a way they will be able to find, read and maybe even retain some of the information that matters most to them — is with an activity calendar for seniors with dementia.
Rachael Wonderlin, a Dementia Care Consultant and Community Designer, addresses the use of large calendars in one of her Dementia By Day blogs. Her suggestions and recommendations for how to positively influence the lives of those with dementia are backed by her experience working with staff and residents’ family members.