Susan Berg's Activity Ideas Galore
By Susan Berg, CDP, AD,  BS(COTA/L)
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Susan Berg
Author, Activity Director
Activities Director Blog
Alzheimers Ideas
About Susan

Susan Berg has been a
healthcare professional and
educator for over 20 years. She
is the, activity director, of
many years, at Hunt Nursing
and Rehabilitation Center in
Danvers. While there, she has
gained much dementia care
and activity experience and
knowledge. She has had
special training in dementia
care and dementia activities
through the Alzheimer’s
Association and other
educational forums. Berg is the
author of Adorable
Photographs of Our Baby-
Meaningful, Mind-Stimulating
Activities and More for the
Memory Challenged, Their
Loved Ones, and Involved
Professionals, a book for those
with dementia and an
excellent resource for
caregivers and healthcare
Take a look
at Susan's book
Flash Cards are
available  to use
with Susan's Book
Note:  They can also be
used without the book
and are ideal for group
Memorable May Activities

Like all other months, the month of May offers you many activity opportunities

I like to start May out with a celebration of May Day which is May 1st. However instead of
celebrating it in the traditional way, I like to celebrate it the Hawaiian way because May
Day is Lei Day in Hawaii.

There are just so many activity possibilities with this day.

First of all, you can make leis go to
for directions on how to do this easy craft. If you are not into making leis with your
residents, that is certainly all right because leis are pretty inexpensive to buy. I just
picked some at the dollar store. They sold six for a dollar.

Just as an aside. I often go into the dollar store just to see what out of the ordinary
merchandise is available. If I see something interesting, the wheels in my brain turn to
see if there is a unique activity to go along with the item.

Any way back to Lei Day. On May 1st, I or one of my staff members or volunteers pass
out the leis. The leis are a great ice breaker for one to one visits. I start the visit be
saying Aloha. This leads us to a discussion of the wonders of Hawaii and the hula
which I may demonstrate.

Speaking of Hawaii, it is an excellent destination for an Armchair Travel activity. See my

Also Lei Day is a great topic for Live&Learn. See my post. http://www.   (insert the appropriate number)
Sometimes I get a number of residents and volunteers to demonstrate the hula. Of
course, we really do not know the hula, but I put on some Hawaiian music and we
wiggle our backsides, move our arms and have a good laugh.

Another holiday I like to celebrate is Cinco de Mayo which is the fifth of May. This is
another day that has all sorts of activity possibilities. For ideas go to

In part two of this series, I show you the way I make a card for this day. I then distribute
the cards on or before Cinco de Mayo. Go here
com/2009/04/03/preparing-for-cinco-de-mayopart-2/  to view this information.

Next on the activity agenda is the celebration of National Teacher’s Day and National
Nurses Week.

For National Teacher’s Day, we of course pay tribute to all the former teachers in the
audience. This lends itself to a nice discussion about going to school, favorite teachers,
favorite subjects, a spelling bee and naturally the singing of School Days.

This then can lend itself to a discussion to school sweethearts which might bring you to
the singing of some love songs. For a list of love songs go here

Do you see how my mind works? One subject leads to another subject that leads to
another subject and before you know it an hour has gone by. You can use this strategy
with almost any topic.

As for National Nurses Week, we of course honor all the former nurses in the crowd.
However then I take it one step further by giving tribute to all the nurses on the staff.
Usually the Director of Nurses has something special planned for the nurses as well.

Once again I make simple cards that I let the residents distribute to the nurses as their
way of saying, Thank you. I also post flyers about what a great job the nurses do,
around the facility. Go here for an example of a posting about nurses and a sample
card I have made This makes for extremely good will between the Activities Department
and the nurses.

If you have any artsy folks as residents, they certainly can design their own cards for the
nurses with or without your help   I hope these ideas will
make your May truly enjoyable.

Feel free to leave your comments at or at