We’ve tackled the session planning rut and how themes can add a dollop of freshness.

Do you always need to use themes? What are some reasons to use themes?

Using themes isn’t required. It isn’t even always the correct choice for meeting your client’s needs.  Then why am I so into using themes?

Here are 4 sipping good reasons to use themes.

1. A theme can help you in tapping into client memories and strengths.

Bringing new topics to a session can unlock stories a client may not have shared.

In a recent cowboy themed session, a resident who rarely sang took part in full voice. She even identified pictures of several cowboys. (Gene Autry and John Wayne are a couple of examples.) From that session, the staff and I learned she was a huge old western movie fan.

2. Using a theme can help you narrow down possible songs to add to or resurrect to your repertoire.

This has been one of the biggest benefits in my practice. And, after over 25 years of working in senior living communities, it is a way for me to resurrect a song I haven’t sung in years. (Trust me, there are enough songs that this DOES eventually happen to you.)

3. By announcing themes you can allow your clients to be part of the planning process. 

Most sessions, just before the good-bye, I share an upcoming theme. Asking what songs this topic suggests, allows them to have some ownership of the session. Most of the time, they suggest songs I already know. But, they have also shared some amazing gems I had to search out.

4. Themes can support orientation to seasonal events/holidays.

When there isn’t much to differentiate one day from another, having seasonal or holiday themes can be helpful.

Remember, a theme can last a year, several months, a month, a week, a day….

When you have themes that extend across several sessions, you can select or create a theme song for it. The clients can learn or relearn a song that is not on their “top 10” list of requests. For example, if a facility has a theme of discussing a different country every month, you could use “Far Away Places” a s a theme song to signal you are about to share something related to that month’s country.

In the next installment, I’ll share what the theme shares on Session Café are like. 

Until then, access some session planning espresso from these pins.