When I was looking around care homes in the summer I always asked to see the activity programme. These ranged from pathetic to very good indeed. I would model an activity sheet at home, even if unofficially, on what I am seeing at day care instead.
The one I like best is Alz Scotland which starts with looking at the daily papers ( tabloids are easier for low level comprehension skills) and asking for comments. I sat in on a session and though it wasn't University Challenge it was a good way of getting conversation going. They also had simple ball games with a soft ball out of IKEA while everyone was seated. They had word search games where a first letter and clue led to a search for a suitable word.
They had sing songs with a collection of hats to stimulate songs eg a cowboy hat might get "Home home on the range".
The overall impression was of fun and yet very little in the way of resources was needed.
My husband's nursing home has quizzes about the past, bingo, lots of art and craft activities, especially at special times of the year and visiting musicians. The latter costs of course but local talented young musicians sometimes came for nothing as it was good training for them.
Mums CH has chair gymnastics to music, arts and crafts sessions, wordsearches, bingo, objects to stimulate reminiscence (a flat iron, old toys etc) and a lady who comes in to lead singing and she brings a keyboard that she plays like a honky tonk piano.
Welcome to TP
I've just checked my diary for dad's home's activities. Each month the co-ordinator produces an A4 sheet which is put up in the main foyer and copies on each floor.
There are set weekly activities and then additional ones
mon = crossword/quiz group (not The Times) tues = word games weds = keep moving thurs = pamper sessions/hair dresser fri = bingo
these are in the morning and are really designed to give a reason to get together and socialise
there's been a weekly singing for the brain recently (for 6 weeks I think)
a weekly reminisce session with an outside group bringing in memory boxes ie objects, books, records etc to stimulate recognition and some chat - a couple of those have been themed eg seaside/holidays with bucket & spade etc - and they spoke with family members about creating a memory book (for 10 weeks I think)
a monthly drop-in session at the local dementia café - the co-ordinator takes a mini-bus of residents
a monthly church service when the local vicar comes in with keyboard player for hymns
about once a quarter an entertainer comes in with guitar to sing - and those who can have a dance (not just music hall or WW11 songs - the residents have a wide range of musical tastes and many sing along)
a ukele group has been in
the local school choir
they had a tea party with music in the garden
a cake stall
a chiropodist visits monthly
some residents made a frieze to go in the foyer - a swirling pattern on the back of wallpaper with things stuck on - not a good description but it looked lovely
recently some residents planted bulbs in indoor pots
a clothes party with the company bringing in clothes to suit the residents
family members are welcome to join in any activity
if there is a birthday there is a cake with candles
on dad's floor they often play old records on an old looking gramophone - music generally goes down well
and the Admiral Nurse came in to talk to family members
of course not every resident goes to everything but the co-ordinator gets to know what suits each resident and makes sure they are able to join in if they wish to
and I know the co-ordinator spends time with individuals too - a bit of hand massage or whatever suits that individual
the weekends are activity free as that's mostly when family members visit
dad's only been there since April so I'm not sure what happens for various celebrations - though the foyer only was decorated for Halloween last week
Enjoy your new role