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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sensational imagination vacation

Activities directors and other healthcare professionals here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals.


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Here is a way for nurses administrators, social workers and other health care  professionals to get an easyceu or two


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As with all activities, you need to adapt and modify this one to meet the interest level and needs of your particular audience.


Many folks have traveled in their past. If they did not actually do a lot of traveling, they probably dreamed of travel. They, most likely, packed a suitcase for themselves or for someone in their family.

One of the reasons this activity is good for lower level residents is because you can put many sensory items in the suitcase, you will be using for the activity. Did you know that low functioning residents who hold certain sensory items like a stuffed animal, a soft furry scarf, a silky scarf, an unusual ball or other individual preference items, can ground them? That is, it can make them more alert if they are lethargic, or calm them down if they have a tendency to become agitated. Just the act of holding certain objects can do this. Part of this activity involves holding sensory items.

Of course this activity offers all a chance to socialize on many levels, a chance to reminisce and dream of traveling to far away places and an opportunity to have fun.
Before you begin the group, you must pack a suitcase full of 20 or so items that you might take on a trip. Of course, put some unusual items in as well. They are always good for a laugh. Also include some things that have sensory appeal.

Try to make even ordinary items extraordinary. This will make for a much more interesting activity. Once you have a suitcase packed with items, you can use it over and over again.
 In fact you can have another activity about packing a bag for a trip. You could have different items available for the residents to see and feel. Then the group can decide if a displayed item should be put in the suitcase.

Alternately, you could just ask group members what they would put in a suitcase, making suggestions as necessary.

Also a week or so prior to the start of the group, talk about vacation destinations to get a feel for where the group may want to travel.
I then get a travel video from the library to use during the activity. You can do the activity without a travel video if you so choose
 
 Once the suitcase is packed and the video is in hand, you are ready to go on a sensational imagination vacation.

Assemble the group. I usually put the group in a circle so it is easier for them to pick something from the suitcase. When it is time to watch the video, you can rearrange the group making sure all can see the TV.

Now set the scene. Get people in the mood to take a trip. Ask them to name ways to travel to places? They could go by car, bus, train, boat, or airplane. See how many modes of transportation, they can name. Give hints as needed. You may want to have pictures of these means of transport. You may want to help lower functioning residents(lfr) answer questions by giving them a choice of two responses. Or you can say, “I can tell that (lfr) likes to travel by car. The gently squeeze his hand and give him a big smile.

You can also ask who has traveled by each of these things?

Now ask the group members how they will be traveling today?

Then pretend you are getting into whatever they chose to travel in.

Say, “Ok now we are traveling”

Next say, “What song can we sing to make the time go faster?”  Give choices, if necessary. Then sing that song.

 After that say, “We are there. Let’s go to the hotel and unpack”.

Here is where the fun begins. Now get out the suitcase and let everyone pick something out of the suitcase one at a time.

After one person picks something say, “Why did we pack this?”

If no one can think of anything and you can’t either say, “Well next time, we will be more awake when we pack, or we will not let(make up a name) pack”. Otherwise discuss why that item was packed. It can be something silly. That is always good for a laugh.

Make sure that everyone has a chance to pick something. Try to let them pick a nice sensory item that is listed here

Give everyone a turn to pick something, but make sure nothing is picked twice.

 After every two people pick-Tell a joke or ask a trivia question. I even include a paper with trivia questions in the suitcase. When someone picks it, I ask the trivia questions on the paper.

This whole thing should take about a half  hour. You could extend it to take longer if you so choose.
 For the next half hour watch the travel video.

Make sure everyone is paying attention.
When it is over or a lot of people seem bored, turn off the video.

Alternately, you can pick items from the suitcase and then have a snack.
 Let the residents watch the video while you are doing paperwork or in between activities.

 I find most long term care residents like watching travel videos. The ones I have seen are beautifully filmed.

 You could also invite a family member in to share some of their travel slides.

 For infection control purposes, you may want to have the laundry wash the washable items in the suitcase, and repack it with the clean items.

When the group is over make sure to thank everyone for coming. Also tell them how much you enjoyed traveling with them.  
 Here is an idea if the group is composed of mostly low functioning residents.

Have a bag full of different types of stuffed animals. Say that you are going to a stuffed animal convention.

 Instead of picking items from the suitcase, they pick an animal from the bag. If necessary, you can pick it for them. Then talk about the animal.
 
While talking about the animal, make sure they hold it. Let them hold the animal as long as they want. If you want to get the animal back, you can say that you need to keep the animal for the convention. Do not worry if you cannot get it back. Eventually, they will tire of it. Retrieve it then.

 


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