Resident Initiated Tools for Engagement Programming

Engagement Toolkit – July 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.

July Focus: Grip Strength for the Win 

Sometimes we overlook basic exercises for those not so commonly thought of body parts. When we think of exercise, we often forget the hands and wrists not considering how vital their function is in our daily lives. Hand strength, also known as grip strength, is a key indicator for functional independence. Not only is a firm handshake often associated with higher confidence. Research has shown that a powerful grip also correlates to longevity.  

Grab some tennis balls or stress balls, make a circle and lead the group through these basic exercises. Print out or verbally explain the article below regarding the correlation of grip strength and longevity. 

July Tools: How to Get Stronger Hands & Fingers With a Tennis Ball


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.

July Focus: Vitamin D, Please

It’s July and it is hot. Like super hot, dog days of summer. Let’s be honest, no one wants to be outside for that long, especially mid-day. But guess what, our bodies desperately need that 15-20 minutes of sunlight a day. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol. The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur. Vitamin D has many roles in the body and is essential for optimal health.  

Remind residents and yourself to make sure you are still getting daily sunlight, even if through a window or shaded porch. Because of the intense summer heat and warm sun, less time is needed for the same benefits. Check out this article to learn more:  

July Tools: How to Safely Get Vitamin D From Sunlight

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.

July Focus: Upcyling

During the hot summer months, we spend more time indoors and often resort to TV or other hobbies and activities when it is just too hot to handle. Instead of racking up minutes watching shows, challenge individuals and groups to “create with trash, “turning trash to treasures.” Instead of recycling to take care of mother nature, we can also “upcycle” and create new items, crafts and gifts from unused or old items and knick knacks we have lying around the house. Collaborative upcycling projects are also a fantastic way to leverage other people’s creativity and perform a social activity with peers.  

For an extension to this project, see how to sell, give away or display all the creations  

July Tools: Top 10 Upcycling Ideas

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.

July Focus: Read a New Book (Audio, Digital or Good Ole Paperback) 

Reading is not just a hobby or way to gather information. It is a lifeline to our brain, and total health. The benefits of reading are numerous and include rewards we may have never of considered; mentally, emotionally and physically. Our minds get lost in books. We create worlds, design and bring life to characters, solve mysteries, imagine settings and locations, take in new words and recall past definitions just to name a few. If you want to know more about what happens in our minds when we read, have a group discussion and ask individuals what they enjoy most about reading. You will be fascinated. For now, start sharing the “why read” article below.

July Tools: Benefits of Reading Books