Newspapers get everyone talkin’
Yvonne Flanagan found inspiration for a men’s program one day while getting her morning cup of java at her local Tim Hortons.
While waiting in the queue for her coffee, Flanagan, a program assistant at Hillside Manor in Stratford, scanned the doughnut shop and noticed several groups of senior men sipping their coffee and chatting about stories they were reading in the local newspaper.
Always on the lookout for new program ideas for the male residents at the Central Park Lodge-owned long-term care home, Flanagan decided that a coffee-and-newspaper program might be just the thing to interest the gents.
The men’s coffee hour is held Saturday mornings. Flanagan will bring in a stack of newspapers and she and the residents will drink coffee, nibble on pastries and talk about current events.
Aside from being a social activity to engage men in conversation, Flanagan says the program is also an excellent tool to enhance and maintain cognitive skills.
The program has been successful enough that Flanagan says she would recommend similar activities to other long-term care homes.
“You learn a lot, that’s for sure,” she says. “I’ve had some great experiences.”
Burnbrae Gardens, an OMNI Health Care-owned long-term care home in Campbellford, has a similar program, which is aimed at all residents.
Like the program at Hillside Manor, Burnbrae Gardens’ newspaper-reading group has been successful at engaging residents in conversation and facilitating interesting discussions, says April Anderson, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator.
Wanting as many residents as possible to participate in the Burnbrae newspaper program, Anderson will customize the activity to meet the needs of individual residents. For example, those residents with cognitive impairment, she will cut photos from the paper so they can have visual stimulation.
One of the things that Anderson says has made the program a success is the fact that the group focuses on “good news” stories.
“We try to steer away from any negative news,” she says, adding that such stories could get some residents upset.
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