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Busy Doing Nothing? How to Foster Purpose and Meaning for Seniors in Long Term Care
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When: Wednesday, November 9, 2016
11:30 AM
Where: Webinar
United States
Contact: Nancie McAnaugh

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Are your residents busy doing nothing?  Are they actively engaged?  Research evidence indicates today’s seniors prefer continued engagement in meaningful and purposeful activities and occupations.  Those who are occupationally active show positive therapeutic benefits, demonstrate fewer negative behaviors, need less help with self-care tasks, report positive mood, and describe greater quality of life. 


Despite such positive outcomes of meaningful engagement, recent studies have suggested that elderly residents are inactive for most of their time, are engaged in passive activities, and do not experience significant verbal interaction with their caregivers.  Many caregivers continue to focus on the “tending” aspects of their jobs instead of maintaining resident choice and independence. 


This session will explore meaningful activities by focusing on the intersection of the individual, his/her occupations, and the environment.  Participants will be guided through what it means to foster engagement and strategies to connect seniors to their environment, improve community involvement, resident choice in the facility, and help individuals lead.  Participants will be guided through a narrative interview for soliciting preferences and be offered four different standardized tools for soliciting individual preferences, interests, roles, and hobbies and using these to encourage client choice and control over activities. 


As residents’ functional abilities change, participation and motivation may change, too.  Following the PEO Model of Care, techniques for adapting activities and the environment to continue to meet the needs of changing medical conditions, those with dementia, and the frailest residents will be suggested.  Participants will learn the evidence-based activity requirements and techniques for adapting activities for seniors with dementia.  The role of nursing will be discussed as a key contributor to facility activity programs; meaningful and purposeful activity is everyone’s job, not just the activities department.  Finally, factors influencing activity provision including budgets, staffing, activity schedules, education, motivation, and creative activity choices will be explored.  Many of these are cited in staff interviews as reasons for not providing abundant and creative activities but do not need to be barriers.  Creative solutions to these perceived barriers will be presented and participants will learn how to brainstorm new and different activities that encompass all critical elements for success:  participant stimulation, functional components, social connections, and recreation/enjoyment. 


Learning Objectives

By the completion of the presentation, attendees will:

  • Identify the elements of the PEO Model of Care and ways to structure activities for active engagement.

  • Describe the elements of a successful activity program to provide purpose and meaning for residents.

  • Identify tools to measure client preferences and staff use of client-centered practices related to meaningful engagement.

Who Should Attend

Administrators, Nursing Staff, Unit Managers, Social Workers, Activities Personnel, Assisted Living, Staff Educators, Care Managers and Direct Care Staff.



Kathleen Weissberg, OTD, OTR/L, Education Director, Select Rehabilitation      

Kathleen Weissberg, in her more than 20 years of practice, has worked in long term care as a researcher/educator and has established various programs in nursing facilities including palliative care and end of life care, incontinence management, falls management and dementia care and staging. She currently provides continuing education support to 6,000 therapists nationwide as director of education for Select Rehabilitation. She has lectured nationally, at the state level, and authored publication on the topics such as patient satisfaction outcomes in long term care, restraint reduction and fall prevention, driving and the elderly, dementia management, palliative care, and hospital readmissions. She has presented at previous LeadingAge conferences for Georgia, South Carolina, Michigan, New York, and has authored articles for publication for LeadingAge Florida and Texas.

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