September 09, 2014

The recreation officer's simple activity manual : Sam omnibus by Lauretta Kaldor

Book Review
This resource is available for loan to members of AANSW - if you would like to reserve it please email the Library on
The author Lauretta Kaldor started work in the aged care industry in 1984 and has been passionate about leisure in aged care for many years. She has written manuals for recreation staff in aged care which are currently used by staff in day centres and in residential care. Her manuals are also used by training organisations, TAFES and Universities offering courses in Leisure and Health.

Lauretta is a graduate of Charles Sturt University in Leisure and Health. She is a Level 1 Diversional Therapist recognized by Diversional Therapy Australia. She has worked with clients who have early dementia through Alzheimer’s Australia NSW and has presented many workshops on practical activities for DTA, Redleaf College in NSW and in various states as well as community organizations in Sydney. In the last 5 years she has presented her Besides Bingo workshops for staff and volunteers who work in adult day respite centres and works with recreation staff and residents in the inner west of Sydney through Medicare local.

This recent Manual is an omnibus of 100 pages of activities for leisure programmes in aged care homes and day centres. It is full of easy practical ideas for programmes ready to photocopy and use.

Suggestions include Reminiscing programmes, Special Activities for Lower functioning Clients, Music as Therapy, Inspirational Quotes, Humour pages, Quizzes, Art and Craft, Games to make and Play and ideas for “Using Today’s Technology”

The programmes are clearly set out and each one contains suggestions for Resources, links to websites and You Tube.
Many programmes include quiz questions designed to provide mental stimulation, and background information on each topic to stimulate discussion and social interaction.

There are 6 sessions designed to provide sensory stimulation for clients who live in residential care and simple activities which provide olfactory stimulation as well as social and reminiscing pleasure for clients who are isolated due to sensory loss. These are excellent tools for person centred care and individual 1-1 as well as group activities.

As most Leisure and Recreation staff are aware music provides a wonderful source of pleasure for
Clients, both in aged care facilities and Day centres.
In the section on Music Appreciation Lauretta gives examples of how modern technology can be used to enhance enjoyment by using ipads, Tablets or smart phones and shares an example of how You Tube was used to stimulate and engage a client living in a dementia specific unit.

In “Using Today’s Technology” Lauretta points out that an “iPad or iPad mini is beginning to evolve as a great tool for older people or any age regardless of cognitive ability.
This session includes information and resources which are particularly useful for people with cognitive issues.
For people once able to use a computer adapting to an iPad is not hard and can provide good leisure and communication strategies which allows for independence and enjoyment

A practioner of many years standing Lauretta’s ‘SAM TO THE RESCUE’ “last minute life savers and ideas for your programmes” will be more than welcomed by those using the manual. It includes useful ideas for staff who may be working alone or who have limited resources.
Ideas for “Games to Make and Play” include easy to follow instructions and are a boon for staff on a limited budget.

The last part of the manual includes art and craft ideas together with clear instructions. These ideas are particularly suitable for more active clients. The activities not only provide enjoyment but encourage participation, dexterity and creativity

Diversional Therapists, RAO’s and Leisure and Lifestyle staff will benefit from the “Useful Tips on Getting Through Your Day” offering “tips on Stress and Time management. The section on Motivating Clients will be more than helpful when dealing with a client or clients lacking in motivation.

I recommend this new manual, which includes new sections on activities for lower functioning clients using iPads and laptops, to staff employed in Aged care facilities, day centres and libraries.

To purchase this book go to

For all Lauretta’s resources go to

Book Review by Janet Godsell, a Diversional Therapist who has worked with people who live with a diagnosis of dementia and their carers for almost 25 years.  She  currently facilitates a Follow up Group in the Living With Memory Loss program and has been a Group Leader in the Ryde Carer's Support Group for over 12 years.

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