What Does an Activities Assistant Do?

Paul Cartmell

Activities assistants are employed in environments such as hospital long-term care units, adult day care facilities and senior or elderly residential care facilities. Different activities are planned by the activities assistant to improve the quality of life of patients and residents of care facilities. Employment as an activities assistant can be based on a voluntary, full-time or part-time basis, depending on the individual's qualifications and experience level.

Activities assistants may plan creative projects for seniors to take part in.
Activities assistants may plan creative projects for seniors to take part in.

Many of the activities that an assistant plans and takes part in are general day-to-day activities, such as engaging in conversation and playing board games. Certain patients might not have close family members or friends to interact with and can be provided with human interaction through taking part in activities with the assistant. Specific hours are often set aside each day for activities, which can include attending special occasions and holidays to keep patients from feeling depressed and isolated.

Activities assistants typically provide care to the elderly.
Activities assistants typically provide care to the elderly.

Entertainment also is planned and provided by an assistant for the enjoyment of patients and residents. In group care facilities, music is often provided to entertain residents, and the activities assistant might be responsible for sourcing or playing the music. Conversation is an important activity, with patients and residents being given the opportunity to discuss their interests, family and friends with the activities assistant.

An activities assistant may coordinate different art programs for residents.
An activities assistant may coordinate different art programs for residents.

Part-time and full-time assistants are employed to plan activities for residents and day care attendees, depending on the needs of each individual. College training courses are available that provide training in planning and administering activities that can improve the life and abilities of the individual patients. Included in the types of activities planned by the assistant are games as well as arts and crafts.

Activities assistants may plan outings.
Activities assistants may plan outings.

Accreditation can be obtained as an activities assistant by completing academic courses and gaining experience within a medical or elderly care environment. Some countries require college courses to be completed to become qualified and accredited in the occupation. Educational requirements do not apply to people who volunteer as assistants.

An activities assistant may play board games with patients.
An activities assistant may play board games with patients.
An activities assistant often works in an elderly care facility.
An activities assistant often works in an elderly care facility.

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