How To: Get Reluctant Residents Involved

Our simple How To series with Robyn Taylor continues with ideas and top tips for encouraging residents who might be shy or isolated to get more involved in the activities programme…

Theres a common perception that the more the merrier when it comes to activities. And of course, it is great to see lots of people attending activities as it makes the home look busy and like there is plenty going on.

Group interaction is also good for the social wellbeing of people – but it is just as important to ensure everyone is sending quality time with someone throughout the day. This means meaningful activities to participate in, rather than just huge group sessions that are all about making up numbers.

These sorts of activities can take place in all shapes and sizes, but to encourage some residents to come you have to take a more gentle approach.

  • Invite them to the session to watch
  • Have they got a friend in the home – could they attend the activity together?
  • Tell the person what is going on for the day and then ask which things they would like to attend
  • Always invite the person, respect their choice if they say no
  • If they are shy, suggest that the person could arrive early and find a seat. Or come in later and sit near the door, so they leave if they feel overwhelmed
  • Take time to find out why they do not want to come? Do they not like big groups, they do not like the planned activity, are they fazed by loud noises, and so on
  • Invite their families along to encourage the person to attend

Top Tip:If a resident has a particular bond with another resident or staff member, ask them to invite them along.

Find out what the individual likes to do. Start off small by doing one-to-one sessions, then next time ask if another person who has the same interests can come along. Start a regular group – even if it is in the person’s bedroom. After that, ask if they would like to do the group in the lounge where there is a bigger table or more space.

Introduce drinks or snacks to keep adapting the activity. As time goes on other residents may look what is going on and ask to join. Speak with the resident you originally planned the session for, and ask if you can start inviting more people along and put it on the calendar as Alberts Chess Night.