Movie Theatre Life Station – The Affordable Way.

Creating life stations within your memory care units does not have to eat away at your budget. Once you have a vision for what you’d like the area to look like, it’s just a matter of brainstorming the least expensive way to reach the final product you have in mind.

These days, we have so many forms of entertainment, whether it be scrolling through social media, choosing from an endless variety of movies right at our finger tips, facetiming our loved ones from the comfort of our homes, paint nights, dance clubs, aerial yoga, cooking classes, and so many other exciting opportunities.

When most of our residents were younger, going to the movie theatre would likely have been quite the treat. Back then, people would pay for their ticket, take their seat, and truly appreciate the entire experience of being at the theatre. You didn’t watch the first 20 minutes of a movie, and then just decide you’d watch the rest another time.

This is the thought that I could not shake once it crossed my mind, but I’ll get back to that.

Working in memory care, there are so many variables that determine whether the nursing staff are able to stay on schedule or not. As recreation staff, we do our best to keep the residents stimulated and engaged with a variety of programming and entertainment. Unfortunately, there are times when the staff could really use our help, but we are either no longer in the building, or occupied running a program in a different area of the home.

I wanted to find a way to provide the staff with an opportunity to keep the residents engaged when the recreation staff were not available. The idea was that perhaps if the staff had fallen behind schedule due to residents being bored, and therefor exhibiting increased responsive behaviors, we could have a back up plan in order for the staff to engage a large group of the residents without us (the recreation staff) being present, therefor allowing them to get back on schedule.

When I came up with the idea to create a movie theatre life station, a television had already recently been added to our activity room. The backdrop was a plain beige wall, and it was obvious that it needed something more, but what?!

The television seemed to be helping with behaviors, however, residents seemed to be losing interest too quickly, and exiting the activity room. I thought to myself, “Perhaps If the residents felt more like they were at a movie theatre, they might become more engaged by the movie, or even instinctively stay for the entire show, hoping to ‘get their money’s worth’.”

Before approaching my supervisor with another of my crazy ideas, I always like to spend some time at home trying to find the most affordable products, or DIY techniques, to bring my vision to life.

I found a variety of beautiful products to choose from, however in an effort to save money, I decided to try to do as much of the project myself, as possible. Instead of purchasing poster frames, I used a laminated border that I created using Microsoft publisher.

I designed the border so that it appeared to have lights surrounding the movie posters, and I also chose to design and print my own version of the “showtime” decals I had been seeing online. I printed them off, cut them out, and then proceeded to laminate them. I also printed and laminated images of concession stand food, as well as theatre lighting.

As a backdrop to the television, between the curtains, I used sheets of large black bristol board that I purchased from a local dollar store. This step really makes the television POP.

Making your own signage, boarders, and decorations, however, can be very time consuming. The finished product may not look quite as polished as ‘the real deal’. BUT, I did say this was the budget version.

If you have some extra money to put into your theatre project, but don’t have the time to search for products and ideas, you can take a look at some of the products posted below.

These are products that I came across while looking for inspiration, however, I have not personally ordered all of these products, therefor you should consider reading the product reviews before making a purchase.

I’ve attempted to add the lowest priced options, however the prices may have increased or decreased since being added to this list. If the price seems high, please consider checking for other similar options at a lower price. Click descriptions for product information and updated prices on Amazon.


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Disclosure: Products listed on this page are sold through Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate I will earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please note that this is at absolutely no additional cost to you, or your organization. Thank you for taking the time to support this blog.


Disclosure: Products listed on this page are sold through Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate I will earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please note that this is at absolutely no additional cost to you, or your organization. Thank you for taking the time to support this blog.

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