Resident Initiated Tools for Engagement Programming

Engagement Toolkit – October 2022

In-room engagement has emerged as a silver lining of the pandemic. Moving on from social distancing and isolation, we know that residents continue to enjoy alone time and solitude in their own space, exactly as they did well before COVID. The only difference, is we have learned how to support and provide personalized, meaningful and interactive content to maintain health and wellbeing. Use these tools to help residents think creatively about new ways to engage themselves and each other.


The most important thing we can do for our bodies and minds is to keep moving. Movement is cumulative and all the seconds of movements add up throughout the day and throughout our lives. It is not about the amount of time spent per day moving, it is about the consistency and making a habit of doing something daily.

October Focus: Supported/Assisted Squats 

Squats are not everybody’s favorite form of exercise, but they are incredibly important to preserve and build lower body strength. The best part is squats are extremely easy to perform. For older adults there are only two requirements. Body weight and something to provide support. You do not need a gym, equipment or a leader. All you need is yourself and a counter or sturdy chair for support. If you are able to perform a squat correctly without support, go for it. If you are unsure of your stability or concerned about having enough strength to do it properly, place your hands on a counter top or on the back of a sturdy chair. Minimal support will allow you to keep proper form while still providing a great workout. Instead of sets or reps, aim for the maximum number in a row without stopping. Do this daily and watch yourself tack on those reps. 

October Tools:


Mindset is extremely important during increased alone time. Encourage residents to focus on positivity, peace, gratitude, future goals, hopes, and past memories to help them find good in any day.

October Focus: Sticky Note Revamp

Sticky notes are great tools for reminders and rsometimes drawing attention to the obvious, yet sometimes overlooked tasks of daily life. We all have good intentions of waking up and achieving something great. But our brains go into auto-pilot, routine happens and all the distractions to the day can wreak havoc on our best intentions, especially healthy behaviors.  

Instead of a “reminder” sticky note of a phone number, grabbing keys, a quick to do list. Reinvent your sticky notes. Make them fun and interesting. Perhaps a goal you want to achieve. Steps walked. Deep breathing. Meeting a new person. An act of kindness. Nutritional intake. Writing a card. Resetting your perspective. A moment of gratitude. All these thoughts swirl through our mind, but a quick, fresh and fun reminder can help us to actually perform and do rather than just thinking or planning.  

Creative Opportunities

We all flourish when find creative outlets to express ourselves. Creativity is not limited to the arts. Let your mind wander and ask residents how they engage in creative outlets. Some may say board games, cards, photography, writing, poetry, acting, singing, dancing, gardening, flower arranging, designing, sewing or knitting. Be open minded and let others explain options for additional creative opportunities.

October Focus: Leaf Painting/Art

Yep. You are reading that right. We want you to try painting with leaves. Why? It’s way beyond than creating a picture with paint. The process of leaf painting that will spark your creativity. Also, there is no right or wrong, good or bad. It is simply a creative process using nature. First, you have to go find a leaf. That means movement, curiosity, selection, wonder, surprise, individuality and novelty. Most people can look at the shape or point on a brush and know the stroke it will make. With a leaf, it’s completely unknown and surprising.  

Let groups of residents create without direction. Some will use the leaves as stamps, some will paint, some will paint the leaves. Creativity is in all of us and not just an “artistic” trait. Check out all the things you can do with those wonderful fall, fallen leaves. 

October Tools:  Painting on Leaves Inspiration


Mental Stimulation

Novelty is the best approach to counteract a monotonous routine. The mind needs to be stimulated: Learning new skills, trying new things and having new conversations with new people are excellent ways to stay mentally stimulated. Mental stimulation is so much more than brain games or daily puzzles.

October Focus: Vocabulary Find 

Remember as a child when you were building your vocabulary and studying new words, their spelling and meaning for a Friday test? You felt empowered and informed, and how cool was it to see one of those same words in a sentence and absolutely know what it meant. As we grow up, we stop seeking out new words to learn…and apply. It is one thing to learn a new word, but for mental stimulation and building cognitive reserve, it must be used and applied. Set a goal for the day to learn a new word and use it in a conversation or writing. Maybe that new vocabulary word can be one of your sticky notes up above. 

October Tools: SAT Vocab Words