You created a beautiful schedule of events and activities but if no one shows up does it really even matter. It is our resident's right to choose whether or not they attend the activities. But we can definitely convince and persuade with good marketing and having activities that they find engaging. Here are some ideas on how to advertise your activities:
In most types of facilities, you are required to post the monthly calendars in some area that is easy for resident's to view. I would also recommend giving each resident a personal copy.
For some communities, weekly calendars might be better for more details and easier for residents to follow. Per regulation, it might be required that you have a monthly calendar displayed, but you can always cut and paste and distribute to each resident per week instead.
Printing out a sheet of daily activities is helpful to many residents. I like to put out the daily activity sheet right before dinner. On the back of the daily activities sheets, I put a word puzzle or other printable activity.
On a bulletin board, I post the monthly calendar, daily activities and any special event flyers.
Flyers in Mailbox
Along with Flyers on the bulletin board, for special events you might want to put one in resident's mailboxes. This is a surefire way they will receive the message.
You can put sign holders anywhere in the building. When promoting for a big event, I use these to put flyers in any area that is heavily trafficked.
In House TV Programming
In many large facilities, you might have access to in house TV programming. Companies like Viibrant or Senior Living Media can put your calendar and special event information on the TV displays around the building and in resident's rooms.
Consider creating a monthly newsletter. Inside the newsletter to promote activities, you can include a monthly calendar and special events. Other newsletter ideas are community updates, spotlight of previous activities, birthdays, memorials, resident of the month, staff member of the month, fun articles, etc. Send this newsletter to residents, their families, and any other facility connections.
Signup Sheet to Determine Interest
For events like outings or activities that needs a fixed amount of supplies (like a craft project.), you can create a signup sheet to determine who is interested in attending. Maybe only 3 people sign up for the Target outing, you can plan to take the car instead of the bus. If only 6 residents sign up for the craft project, don't buy the expensive supplies for 30. For a craft project though, I always like to buy a couple extras for the folks who forgot to sign up.
Get someone else to do the hard work for you. If it is an event a resident is passionate about they can hype up other residents and encourage them to attend. Same with volunteers, they can dedicate much more time to encourage residents to attend their event than you might have. Talk to your residents about what they want to do, and see if they would want to host an activity.
Announcements at Other Events
I like to always end each activity by letting all the resident's know what's going on later that day. For special events, I like to go to the Dining Hall before the food is out and make the announcement as well. Resident Council is also the perfect place to announce the activities for the following month.
During One on Ones
If there are certain residents you do One on Ones with and they are able to attend larger activities, use this time to remind them what is going on and that you would love for them to join the group activities. Some folks really don't like doing group activities, but it never hurts to ask.
Last Minute Door to Door
Are there some residents who seem really excited to go to an activity when you are talking to them but when the time actually comes they are a no show? A lot of the time they just forgot, even if you had just talked to them an hour before. For these residents I like to just give them a quick reminder by doing a room visit. Most of the time they will walk to the activity with me right then.
Encouragement from Other Staff
You aren't the only staff that sees your resident's daily. Care/nursing, dining, housekeeping, maintenance, and management staff can all help you in encouraging residents to attend activities. A caregiver sees someone is bored in their room - they can let that resident know there is something fun going on down the hall. A maintenance worker helps a resident set up a TV in their room - that's the perfect time to let them know about your In House TV Programming. Keep them informed of the events and communicate with them regularly on the needs of your department and what they could do to help.
Inform your communities' family members of the activities you have coming up. Send them your calendars and newsletters and tell them to remind their loved ones to attend the activities they would enjoy. If appropriate invite the family to your events as well.