Resident Initiated Tools for Engagement Programming

Engagement Toolkit – November 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.

November Focus: Walking with a Purpose  

Walking is this thing we have been conditioned to do! We need to move and the benefits are numerous for our bodies and minds. But did you know that there is a significant distinction between “Walking” and “Walking With a Purpose?” 

What does that mean? Here are 3 examples:  

  1. Real World Specificity. We need to challenge ourselves when we walk and add elements of the real world that we have to navigate. If we walk the same path again and again, we are conditioned to know exactly what is approaching and our bodies and minds go into auto-pilot. A step up or down, maneuvering around an object or obstruction, seeing new scenery along the way. These elements need to be included in your walking routines. 
  2. Go Somewhere Specific. If you have a destination in mind, you will always go a bit further. Even for something as simple and routine as walking, having a goal and physical place to get to and back will increase motivation and add a feeling of accomplishment. 
  3. Treadmill Walking is a form of exercise, but it does not provide the same level of “dual tasking.” Meaning, it does not stimulate the mind and create that wonderful thing called neuroplasticity – the connection of new neural pathways. We are robots on a treadmill.


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.

November Focus: Not Your Stereotypical November Gratitude Challenge

When we are asked to talk about things we are grateful for there are common answers that are definitely true, but they start to lose their umph. Family, friends, health, security, children, grandchildren, career, safety, freedom. Those are the big things, the basics of life that we all seek to have in order to enjoy our days. But what about unspoken, little nuggets of gratitude found deep inside of you? Ask yourself these 3 questions and reflect on how you are an incredible human being that can both celebrate the good, and conquer the challenges: 

  1. What is the hardest or most difficult thing you have had to overcome in the past year? 
  2. What are you most proud of about yourself that others do not know or outwardly see? 
  3. What is your superpower that makes your family and friends drawn to you? 

It may seem a bit selfish, but self-gratitude is one way to recall our resilience while adding a daily dose of self-care and love. 

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.

November Focus: Are You an Artisan? 

When we think about creative opportunities we tend to think arts, crafting, painting, knitting other traditional works. But there is a whole new way that is easily accessible in terms of creating and supporting local artisans. As we enter the gift giving time of year, perhaps you can become inspired to be a novice artisan, creating heartfelt designs to use and share. 

  • Create your own Thanksgiving cards 
  • Make your own holiday decor with household items 
  • Write a letter or poem for someone special expressing thankfulness 
  • Upcycle your glass jars and containers for vases, pen holders, snow globes, a new set of drinking glasses 

If you wish to decline your artisan adventure, check out this link about supporting local artisans this holiday season. 

November Tools:  Why You Should Support Local Artisans

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.

November Focus: Curiosity is the Spark that Ignites Creativity & Imagination

Ask Why? It’s that simple. There are people in the world that are naturally curious. They are known problem solvers. They like pieces that make up parts that do something interesting or useful. But you do not have to be a problem solver to spark curiosity in your mind which leads to novelty, discussion, discovery and cognitive fitness. 

Think about how many times you have wondered how or why something works the way it does? Now is the time to find out the answer. Ask a peer or friend who has a different background and life experiences. A few things to get your mind working: 

  • Space travel in the 21st century 
  • Agriculture 
  • Supply chain and warehouse logistics 
  • Buildings and skyscrapers 
  • Computers, WiFi, the 4G, 5G and now 6G networks, fiber optic lines 
  • Inventory management 
  • Rail systems