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Back of Activities Card

Dementia Services Development Centre


Visual Door Recognition


Visual Door Recognition for Care Homes to aid Dementia and Amzheimers residents.

Other Products:


Aid Memoir - Communication System

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Aid Memoir - Communication System

Forget Me Not


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Personalised Door Identities

User Guide Extracts

Fan of Activities Cards

Quick Links: Foreword | Daily Activities & Events
Developing Pleasurable Activities
| Examples of Activities Cards

The Activity Display System

Designed For
Elderly Residents In Long Term Care
Senior Living
& Carers


Activities programmes in care homes throughout the industry have been of variable quality, and will continue to be so unless care providers Promote, Display and Control this important area in a more professional and efficient manner.


Elderly residents have always expected good quality care, good housekeeping and good quality food that satisfies their individual requirements in all of these areas.


In addition to this, elderly residents and those in senior living deserve a good activities programme that suits their personal needs and capabilities, which in my opinion remains behind standards being set in the above three basic areas.


This book and the accompanying activities system, is aimed at assisting and improving the quality that all care homes aspire to in delivery of activity to those elderly care and senior living.


Considerable thought has been put into the development of this publication and to the accompanying activities display system, which will fulfil a large number of important aspects of activity planning and delivery.


I commend it to you as the fundamental foundation to any activities programme on both an individual and collective basis.

Daily Activities and Events


We all recognise the spectrum of needs for the elderly and one of the key areas of importance for all of us is the need for their social and residential activities.


As a person gets older, it this likely to have an impact on some of their abilities but there will still be many areas of activity that the person can enjoy doing, both individually and with others.


The activities should provide both physical and mental stimulation: Human beings are innately active beings - they need to do things, to have a part to play and a purpose in life, giving them identity and meaning.


Activities should be undertaken on the understanding that:

  • Caring for somebody completely and holistically requires consideration of their social and occupational needs, and providing the opportunity for social activity and interaction.
  • Occupational deprivation is the lack of purposeful, meaningful and valuable activity and has serious consequences on the health of all, no matter their age, illness or disability.
  • The more active an individual remains mentally and physically, the more skills they are likely to retain for longer. They can remain more independent and consequently enjoy a better quality of life.
  • Activity can have a beneficial and therapeutic effect, therefore contributing positively to skills maintenance; retaining the ability to do things. And, importantly rehabilitation; relearning skills that may have been lost.

Each activity should be structured around areas of core activity needs these include:

  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Self-esteem
  • Sensory
  • Social
  • Cognitive
  • Creative
  • Cultural
  • Educational
  • Spiritual













Maintaining existing skills, as far as possible, can give the person pleasure and boost their confidence.


For this reason, it is important to help them to identify activities that they enjoy doing, and to continually adapt them to meet the person's changing interests and needs throughout their elder years.


The word 'activities' is often associated with structured group activities, such as bingo or exercise classes, but not everyone enjoys this type of pursuit.


In fact, many beneficial activities are the simple, everyday tasks that many of us take for granted, which may be enjoyed as a solitary pastime, or in pairs or small groups.


Simple activities such as taking a walk, listening to the radio or looking after a pet can help give pleasure and bring purpose to the day.

Benefits to the Resident and Carer

Remaining physically and mentally active can have a significant impact on a person's well-being.


It provides a welcome distraction to look forward to and can help the person focus on the positive and fun aspects of life.


Carrying out simple everyday tasks can help the individual feel better about themselves by providing a structure to the day and a sense of achievement.


Some types of activity can help the person to express their feelings, for example listening to music, doing a sketch or writing something down.


Sharing an activity that both the carer and resident enjoy may bring them closer together, and help them find new ways to relate to each other.


Discovering new ways to stimulate someone can be satisfying, and may enable those around them to think differently about their caring role.

Developing Pleasurable Activities

Speaking to Residents

To help residents get the most out of activities and also find other activities of interest, talk to them about which activities they might and do enjoy within their current capabilities.


It is important to assess each activity against the resident’s individual needs and abilities.


Listing each activity and the suitability factor of the activity in relation to them should be monitored over a period of time, as this can change.


Try to find imaginative ways to adapt current activities within the home that they are interested with regard to their changing capabilities and moods.


Discuss and record possibilities with residents, relatives and friends. Feedback will provide you with all the information you need to make life for the resident pleasurable through activities.

Daily Exercise

When planning activities for the week, some form of daily exercise should be incorporated even if is a little stretching for promoting flexibility.


Exercising is beneficial to the resident as it helps burns up the adrenalin produced by stress and frustration, and produces endorphins, which can promote feelings of happiness.


Exercise will help maintain the resident’s weight as their metabolism slows. This can help avoid developing diabetes and heart disease. Increased circulation can help their digestive system stay healthy and keep the immune system strong.


Exercise helps develop a healthy appetite, increases energy levels and promotes a better night's sleep.


A simple walk in the garden is a good form of exercise and provides a change of scene and the stimulation of fresh air.

Involving others

When developing activities it is beneficial to include other people including paid workers, family members, friends or volunteers.


This can be an accompanied visit to a local primary school or maybe other people joining in a BBQ in the garden.


Whenever possible actively encourage a diverse mix of persons to participate in offering their services and skills to assist in delivering a wide and varied assortment of activities within and out with the home.


The activities board should be positioned near the reception area. It is important that the board be placed so it is easily seen by everyone coming into the home. The board will display the activities taking place for the week in progress.


Placed in a prominent position the Activities Board provides instant visibility and comprehension of the Activities Programme to:

  • Residents
  • Relatives & Friends
  • Staff
  • Registering Authorities
  • Other Stakeholders

And therefore creates a forum for discussion.


Utilise 21 of the 180 large format Activity Display cards over a rolling 7 day period. The cards cover virtually all activities undertaken in care homes and provide:

  • Strong visual impact
  • Clear portrayal of the programme
  • Fun pictorial representation
  • Brief and clear narrative
  • A rolling 7 day programme.


The Activities Board provides a positive enforcement message giving stronger control over your Activities Programme including:

  • Resident expectation
  • Staff understanding
  • Formalised pattern
  • Other stakeholder recognition.


As a company we are committed to improving the activities programme for our customers.

This Activities System will help you to promote, display and control the activities programme you select.

Suggestions, comments and other ideas for future editions will all be welcome.

Examples of Activities Cards:

Arts and Crafts

Arts and Crafts Activities Cards

Topic and Aims

To encourage the residents to create their own art work. It does not have to be an actual object such as a tree or a face, an abstract art form such as a collage is still art. Residents should be involved and inspired during this activity and should be guided where possible towards dignified age related crafts (not just simply colouring with crayons). This activity can incorporate a number of creative ideas such as:

  • Card Making
  • Jewelry Making
  • Scrapbooks
  • Picture Frame Decoration
  • Embellishment of Boxes
  • Collages








A selection of craft materials and tools for example:

  • Scissors
  • Buttons
  • Blank or Prepared Envelopes
  • Magic Markers
  • Sponge
  • Stickers
  • Blank or Prepared Cards
  • Paints & Brushes
  • Ribbon
  • Crayons
  • Glue
  • Crepe Paper






Hold a craft session. Ask each resident to design and make a card, embellish a box, decorate a picture frame or paint a picture.


Benefits to the resident include pride of accomplishment, use of thinking and hand to eye concentration skills, motor movements and of course interest.


Seasonal holiday decoration preparation e.g. for Christmas, Easter and New Year.


Reminiscing Activities Board Card

Topic and Aims

To encourage communication and self-expression. Increase social interaction, feelings of belonging and togetherness through the sharing of experiences.


To emphasise the individual identity and unique experiences of the residents.


Use a room where the resident group will feel comfortable, able to talk and hear others. Arrange seating in a semi-circle for easy passing of objects, if applicable.


Introduce the topic (pass items around if applicable). Allow plenty of time for discussion on the different versions of an event. Some people may need time to remember while others will speak up quickly and often.


Encourages the residents to take on a teaching role through the sharing of their experiences.

Residents may regain interest in past hobbies and past times.


Promotes creativity.


Helps alleviate depression.


Use the differences within the group, to obtain greater insights into each object or experience.


The group needs some structure, however allow sufficient flexibility to accommodate spontaneity.


Be careful not to offend or disregard anyone’s personal experience.

Newspaper Reading

Newspaper Reading Activities Card

Topic and Aims

To give the residents the pleasure of a Reading Room that has a selection of current newspapers and magazines.


Generally newspapers publish stories on local and national political events and personalities, crime, business, entertainment, society, sports and an editorial page.


Selection of newspapers and magazines.


A relaxing room.


Set a room up with a selection of newspapers including Sunday papers and a variety of magazines.

Include humorous and light hearted magazines in order to keep the mood happy.

Encourage residents that can read to participate in this activity. This can be used for linked events see below.


A reading room can give much pleasure both educationally and socially and can also be used to create a forum for discussion.

Linked Events

This even can be linked to Newspaper Events Card 8 enabling all residents to get pleasure from this activity.


Try to source newspapers with large print to help those residents with poorer eyesight.

Home Baking

Home Baking Activities Card

Topic and Aims

A chance for the residents to participate in baking skills of a sweet and/or savoury nature.


Selection of trays, baking pans, grease proof paper, bowls, measuring spoons and cups.

Selection of ingredients such as pastry, flour, sugar, butter or margarine.


Organise the residents in an area where the floor can be cleaned after!

Place the ingredients and mixing bowls at the optimum height.


Eye to hand co-ordination, motor skills and socializing.

Sampling of the fare.


Ask residents what they would like to bake.

Get input from homes kitchen staff.

Follow a recipe that has a good success rate and not of a complex nature. If a resident was a chef or cook ask them to lead the event.

Wimbledon Tennis

Wimbledon Tennis Activities Card

Topic and Aims

To screen the oldest tennis tournament in the world which takes place over two weeks in late June and early July culminating with the Ladies' and Gentlemen's Singles Final.

Wimbledon, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and is considered the most prestigious. It has been held at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in the London suburb of Wimbledon since 1877.


Comfortable room.

A good size TV.


Set up a room with a large TV screen so everyone can clearly see the matches.

Maybe organise table tennis or ping pong!


A high profile social event, this activity creates a forum for discussion and is entertaining.

Linked Events

Can be linked to a scoring system and prizes if required.


Serve strawberries and cream the traditional Wimbledon fare.

Have some equipment pertaining to tennis.

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