Enhancing Your Brain Fitness Programs
Kathryn Kilpatrick M.A. CCC/SLP
Geriatric Life Enhancement Consultant
Memory Fitness Matters www.memoryfitnessmatters.com
Programs that offer activities for residents need to appeal to a variety of interests while modifying for those who may have visual and hearing impairments, varied backgrounds, educational levels and memory challenges from mild to more impaired. Consider incorporating some of these strategies to enhance participation.
- Create a PowerPoint presentation using a larger font and a limited amount of content on each slide. If you decide to write items out on something like a dry erase board, keep it simple and use large print.
- Some older adults have a hearing loss and it is easy to lose participants if they cannot hear you. Speak slowly, use a louder voice or preferably a microphone whenever possible. It is also important to make sure you are facing your audience when providing information. Ask for feedback and encourage participants to ask you to repeat the information if needed. Using visual props can be helpful for clarification especially for those words that are harder to hear which have sounds such as s, z, sh, ch, th, f and v.
- Varying the type of activities increases the appeal and should be based on the interests and background of the participants. Some of the activities that have been most popular are positive quotes, You Tube videos with nature, funny children and animals as well as word games, riddles and puns, problem solving and critical thinking exercises. Consider practical tips for memory fitness, brain health and topics with new learning opportunities. The underlying theme is leaving them with a positive feeling about the experience.
- Consider handing out a brain game activity in larger print that they can complete after the program. Instead of giving the answers, post them in the same place each week. Make extra copies available for those who have not attended. Reinforce the fact that the goal is not how many answers are correct but that the participants had a positive experience with some new opportunities to socialize and engage their mind.
“Minds are like parachutes – they only function when they are open.” Thomas Dewar
American Senior magazine has developed a Program Enhancement Package subscription designed specifically for senior living communities containing activities that correspond directly with the magazine content, thoughtfully crafted to entertain, educate, empower and engage seniors.