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Collection Show

Looking for a good indoor program for your residents this summer? I've done this program with independent living residents two different ways. I will share those ideas with you now.

A COLLECTION SHOW is a great way to have residents share their possessions with the community. There are so many interesting stories that come out of this event! The first time that I hosted this special event, I asked residents to sign up to participate. They needed to tell me what they were bringing and how many card tables or banquet tables they would need. I tried to limit it to one table per person of either size. I then set up a time when the exhibitors could bring their items and get their displays ready. The doors to the event opened shortly afterwards. Residents attending the function walked around to the different tables, looked, touched, asked questions and learned something new about their friends and neighbors.

This program went very well, but there were some negatives. The first is that some collections were not easy to bring to the auditorium. Some of the items were heavy or fragile and were at risk of being damaged. Our maintenance department had the job - if the resident requested help, of getting the items to the auditorium and then back to the residents apartment. The other problem was that some collections were in wall units on "permanent display" in the apartments and residents were not comfortable taking them to the auditorium.

The other way I've done a collection show is to have it as an apartment tour. Residents interested in having guests come to their home to see their collection signed up in advance. I then posted a list of the apartments in numerical order along with the type of collection that they were sharing. There was a specific start and ending time for this event. Some residents who participated in the collection showcase felt the need to offer light refreshments in their home, which was an added bonus for those on the tour. 

I think that the next time I plan this event, I am going to take both of these ideas and put them together. I will promote the homes that have items to share and also set up tables for those who want to display their collections in the auditorium due to space, etc. 

As I said at the beginning of this, I hosted this event with independent living residents, but it can be done in an assisted living setting also. It is taking the "show and tell" idea of speaking about one item to the next level. I don't work in this level of care, but I do think it would be successful.

And lastly, this would be a good staff program for your community. I think that it is a win-win situation when employees are viewed as human beings with real lives, real interests, real personalities, etc., instead of being "the maintenance man," "a housekeeper" or one of the people from the kitchen. I shared my families Kentucky Derby glasses collection the first year I did this and people learned that I love horse, sports and that my husband's family is from the Kentucky/Ohio area.

This is a fun indoor event that even residents who may not participate much in other ways, will probably enjoy. Give it a try!

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