Skip to main content

Puzzle Theme for Volunteer Appreciation

Volunteers are an essential piece of retirement communities! They can be found volunteering at the reception desk when you first walk in, running an activity for the entire community to attend, folding napkins for the dining room and even taking potential residents on tours of the community for the sales and marketing department. Resident volunteers may also be board or committee members of your community's resident board. It is hard to imagine a successful community without resident volunteers.

As the activities director in my CCRC community, it is my responsibility to make sure there is a wonderful appreciation luncheon every year to thank our residents. This year we used a puzzle theme for the lunch. The idea came to us (me and my co-workers from our neighboring sister community) from the Positive Promotions catalog.

Here are the highlights of the event that connected the pieces together for a successful and meaningful afternoon:

In Advance
1) Took a photo of the entrance of our community (or it could be an focal point that is recognizable to your community) and had a puzzle made from it.

2) Put the puzzle together and then

  • numbered all of the pieces in the order that made the puzzle whole
  • created a guide with the shape of the pieces and the number of it
3) Made centerpieces for the tables.
  • Bought a child's floor puzzle with very large pieces and bright colors
  • Used puzzles that were unwanted (you could do this also and try to get all the pieces back into the right box, but I was not worried about that as I have a puzzle population problem already.) and fill in a glass vase. I used a small craft stick and hot glue gun to put it all together. 
  • Created a personalized label on card stock from Printshop.You will need to make 2 for each centerpiece. Add a graphic so the "back" will look pretty in a different way from the front (shown here).
4) Created and printed a program for the afternoon

The Day of the Event
1) Decorate with bright colors and put centerpieces on the tables

2) Randomly placed the number puzzle pieces at every place setting with the number side up.

3) Put the guide created with the puzzle shapes and numbers out on a table. It is important that residents can reach the puzzle from all sides of the table.

4) At the point in the program that you determine is the best, call residents to the puzzle table in numeric order...... not by tables.

5) Make sure to have a patient staff person (or people) there to assist. But remember
  • Turn the piece right-side up (don't laugh - it was an issue for some)
  • Allow the resident to put in the piece when they are capable
6) Encourage residents to return to see the completed puzzle at the end of the program


Those are the highlights of this year's program. Of course there was a great meal, a few key speakers and a gift for everyone. I hope you will take time to see the 10 other posts that I have written about resident volunteers



Popular posts from this blog

4 Pictures 1 Word Game for the Big Screen

Many of you who have played 4 Pictures 1 Word, know that this brain game is available as an app for your computer, tablet or phone for free. That is great, bu it does not allow a team to play and is not audience friendly if you wanted to present it at your retirement community (or other social gathering). 
After some time and effort, I made a 4 Pictures and 1 Word game  slide show that you can use in your community. I did use the app for suggestions and the Internet for the pictures. I am glad to share this with you so that you will not have to spend the hours that I did in creating this game. If you get the urge to make one also, please come back to this blog page and share it.  I played this last week with a group of about 25 independent living residents.We did not get through all of the slides due to time constraints..... but I was glad I did not run out of slides in my hour that I had their attention. I will be playing this with them again... and would love to have other slides t…

Play Music More Often

"Music is the soundtrack of your life," said Dick Clark. When you hear a song, if you are like me, it takes you back to that time in your life when you heard the song for the first time or to the occasion where you heard it. That is powerful. Can you imagine the music that our residents have heard in their lifetime? Just like the world in general, they have experienced so much and it is nice when we, as activities professionals, can take them back to the happier days, with the soundtracks from their lives.
So, the question I pose to you today is how do you find and present music to your residents? Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is by way of hired professional performers. That is a given in our jobs, so in this post, I'd like to focus on a few other ways that you can bring music to your residents that they will recognize and enjoy, along with theme music for your special events.

Pandora, Amazon, (search MP3 Download then search free songs) and YouTube are pla…

Brain Games

Recently we hosted our senior Olympics program. This year we added a new event called Brain Games. I found a really good link for brain games that you should look at to understand the definition.
After looking at that link and reading through some other online material, I realized that there is a difference between training your brain and brain games. Be mindful (pun intended) that you are not qualified to train resident's brains unless you have gone to training for it. We, as activities professionals however, are very capable of playing brain games with those who are interested in our communities.
Recently, I introduced Scattergories, Apples to Apples,Wii Jeopardy,Wii Wheel of Fortune and a Name that Tune type of game.  They are fun games that required your brain, so I thought that they were Brain Games. This last game, Name that Tune, I created on my own since I could not find anything that would have been appropriate for this generation to identify with. I downloaded music from t…