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Unlocking Engagement: One-to-One Sessions for Reluctant Residents

One-to-one sessions hold immense potential for fostering meaningful connections and engagement, especially with residents who may initially be hesitant to participate.

Those who know me will know that I love musical theatre, "Bright Copper Kettles" is taken from the line in the song "My Favourite Things" from the musical The Sound of Music.

The song which springs to mind when I talk about helping reluctant residents to feel part of their community, is "Getting to know you" from The King & I, getting to know each resident is at the heart of being a great Activity Coordinator.

Here are some tailored strategies to help activity coordinators effectively engage reluctant residents in one-to-one sessions:

Start with a Warm Welcome: Greet each resident with a warmth and a genuine interest in the resident's wellbeing. A friendly smile and a personal touch can go a long way in building rapport and putting the resident at ease.

Be Flexible and Patient:  Recognise that every resident is unique, and engagement may take time. Be patient and flexible in your approach, adapting activities based on the resident's responses and comfort level. Allow them to set the pace and provide gentle encouragement along the way.

Discover Individual Preferences: Use the time to learn about each resident's interests, hobbies, and preferences. Whether it's reminiscing about past experiences, engaging in conversation about the arts and crafts sessions you have planned, or sharing thoughts on different pastimes over a cuppa. Engage the resident's senses through multi-sensory activities that stimulate cognition and evoke positive emotions. Whether it's listening to music, exploring tactile materials, or snacking on favourite foods, multi-sensory experiences can enhance the overall enjoyment and engagement between you.

Foster Trust and Comfort: Create a safe and comfortable environment where residents feel valued and respected. Encourage open communication and actively listen to their thoughts, feelings, and stories without judgment. Building trust is essential for cultivating meaningful connections. Where residents are reluctant to attend group meetings about the running of the home and future activities and events, take time to share the discussions which took place and ask for their contributions towards the activities planned for the future.

Ask for feeback on different aspects of the care and services provided and ensure that their voice is heard where it matters.

Quality trumps quantity when it comes to one-to-one sessions. Instead of rushing through activities, prioritise meaningful interaction and genuine conversation. Take the time to truly connect with the resident on a personal level, fostering a sense of companionship and understanding.

Celebrate Achievements and Milestones: Acknowledge and celebrate the resident's achievements, no matter how small. Whether it's mastering a new skill, sharing a personal story, or simply expressing themselves, validation and encouragement are powerful motivators that inspire continued participation.

Continuously Evaluate and Adjust:   Regularly assess the effectiveness of one-to-one sessions and be willing to adjust your approach as needed. Solicit feedback from residents and caregivers to ensure sessions are meeting their needs and preferences. Continuous improvement is key to fostering ongoing engagement.

By embracing the spirit of "getting to know you" in one-to-one sessions, activity coordinators can create enriching experiences that empower reluctant residents to participate and thrive. Through personalised engagement, genuine connection, and a commitment to individual wellbeing, these sessions have the power to transform lives and foster a sense of belonging within the community.


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