Activity programming: An administrator’s view

Are we ready for the wave of Baby Boomers and their demands of the activity program? It is time for us to evaluate our community’s activity program and determine if we are where we need to be, and if not, how can we get there?

Every Activity Director believes his or her program is the best, and that pride in your program is completely appropriate and expected. Now let’s take a step back, remove the tunnel-vision glasses, and truly evaluate the activity program. The new thought is to have a systematically designed, highly marketable program that maximizes the residents’ quality of life and engages each resident in quality activities, and not just quantity.

  • Are we meeting the needs of our current residents?
  • Are we connecting with each person through mind, body and spirit?
  • How does our program differentiate us from our competitors?
  • What do we want our program to look like in one year? How about in five years?
  • What steps do we need to take to achieve this?

Residents need more than Bingo, birthday parties and entertainers. Many of the new-age ideas may take you out of your comfort zone, but that is all right because you’re doing it for your residents. Try things like Yoga, Tai-Chi, Big and Loud Therapy, Tibetan healing bowls and ambient relaxation techniques. These may not work for everyone, but the point is to expand programing to connect on a different level. The best part is that trying new ideas is not permanent—if something doesn’t work, tweak it until you find something that does. We owe it to our residents to try new things to improve their lives.

Administrators' support of Activity Professionals is vital in making new ideas come to life for our residents. When Administrators support Activity Professionals through education, certification and forward thinking, the residents will benefit from their improvement and knowledge gained. We, too, need to take off our tunnel-vision glasses and help assist our Activity Directors into becoming true professionals in their field.

Sean Mockbee, BS, NHA, is the owner/operator of Sunshine Village Memory Care and Paseo Village Assisted Living and is the managing partner of ViewPoint Senior Care, all in Arizona. He is President of the Arizona Health Care Association and serves on the Board of Directors for the National Centers for Assisted Living (NCAL).

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