Providing fun, engaging activities for residents is always a top priority for community managers. Find activities that can bring residents together, provide interaction, and excitement are especially enticing. At a recent conference of Senior Living Administrators, a story was shared about a ‘scavenger hunt’ put on by the activities director at an assisted living facility in Virginia. It was such a huge success that we wanted to share it with you.
All of the residents were invited to join in. No special skills were needed and mobility limitations were not an issue. Residents participated individually, or as a team. The ‘hunt’ was global – it touched all 7 continents. Residents were given an atlas, and a computer. Activities volunteers were on hand to assist the less technologically savvy players. Family members were encouraged to participate as well. The only rule: have fun!
Each day for two weeks resident’s were presented with a clue. Using the power of technology, through Google/Web searches, referring to the Atlases, drawing on life experiences, and reaching out to friends and families to help with the answers, groups of residents solved each of mysteries, ‘collecting’ the day’s targeted ‘item’ and turning in their answer to the Activities Director by the end of the day. Scores were determined by the order in which the answers were turned in – first one to turn in the answer for the day got X points, second one got Y points, etc. At the end of the two weeks, a prize was awarded to the team who solved the clues the fastest.
It didn’t really matter what the prize was, or who won. The residents had a blast joining together to find the answer. In one case they were looking for the name of a coffee shop, next to a Catholic Church, in Dublin, Ireland. One of the resident’s Facetimed a great-niece who was studying at Trinity College. She had been to the coffee shop that morning and knew exactly which one it was! (Hint: it’s on Clarendon Street).
The clues were developed to be very specific but to leave enough mystery that deciphering the location required problem solving, communication and networking. Engaging the use of technology was also a key ingredient to the fun. Residents who had been reluctant to use a computer was enthralled at the web’s ability to answer questions and find locations. Exploring new lands and learning about far away destinations kept everyone excited. It truly was a global scavenger hunt!