Saturday, March 15, 2008

Movie and Popcorn Anyone?

Movies and Popcorn activities were one of the most popular activities in some of the facilities I worked at. Then there were the other facilities where this activity was just like any other. What made the difference? The popcorn and how it was made. Isn't that amazing? Not really.
The facilities where this was most popular had the popcorn making machine where people could watch the popcorn being made. Those that did not have the popcorn machine were not that excited about the movie either.
When I worked in facilities with the popcorn machine, residents who said they did not want to come to the movie still came out of their rooms just to come watch the popcorn pop. Others, smelling the popcorn from their rooms, asked if they could have some brought to them. So, what about the movie? Combining a good movie with a bag of popcorn worked well with a little timing. Movies generally last about an hour and a half...a long activity to expect people to sit through. So what we usually did was get the movie started, then after about half an hour we would get the popcorn popping. We always had extra chairs set up for latecomers who came out just for the popcorn. Some chairs were also placed where people could just watch the machine and talk to each other. The popcorn machine was placed, obviously, a bit away from where the movie was playing so the noise and chatter would not interfere with the residents viewing pleasure. So, this one activity became two activities. Or maybe that would be three if you count the room visits that came out of delivering the fresh popped corn right to their rooms. Oh, and one time, my movie and popcorn activity had an added activity when the machine was placed too near the smoke detector! Never did that again! There wasn't really any smoke, but what did come from the machine made a noisy impact on the day!

But what happened in those facilities that did not have the popcorn machine? And what about the facilities that wouldn't even allow for the real popcorn for fear of residents choking? We would get just a few residents to come out and watch the movie, and they would soon be asleep in their chairs after only a short time. I had one facility where I just could not convince anyone of the value of buying even a small popcorn machine for the residents. They were happy with using microwave popcorn. If only I could have had one on loan for a day and invite everyone in for a visit to see just what would happen.

Do you work in a facility where they don't see the value? Here are just some of the benefits you can mention the next time you bring up the idea.

  • Increased attendance to the Movie, or whatever other activity you want to have popcorn involved.
  • A secondary activity in the area of the popcorn machine while residents watch and socialize.
  • A room visit activity that makes popcorn the topic of discussion.
  • An increase in visitors when they know popcorn is on the calendar.
  • A fund raiser as you can charge visitors (never charge the residents) and facility staff for each bag of popcorn they want...always make extra. Always include the popcorn machine in other activities that are fundraisers, such as carnivals.
  • Increased morale in the staff on popcorn day. (Happy staff=happy residents.)

I am sure there are other benefits you can think of. Of course you can always buy extra deli popcorn (the puffed kind without kernals) for those who have a risk of choking. One facility I visited made both regular and caramel corn. What an idea!

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