When it comes to senior care facilities, programming is critical. Obviously, you want to have a full line-up of activities that your residents will enjoy. But, of course, there will be restrictions in terms of budget and staffing. The challenge is to find a happy balance of offerings and resources – without sacrificing quality for quantity. A great way to manage this is to have a mix of activities, led by different groups of individuals.
This is probably how most of your programming is currently led. But, if you want to make the most of your staff, try adding activities that require minimal assistance. For example, movie nights, bingo games, and bible studies.
It is also a good idea to talk to your staff to see where their interests lie. You can increase company morale by allowing employees to share their experience, knowledge, and hobbies with the seniors in their care. For example, someone may be fluent in another language or have a love of watercolors. These are activities that they may be able to do with a smaller group of residents during shorter periods of time. This also allows you to match interests and make the available programs more relevant to the individuals.
This is something that many facilities forget to remember: programs do not have to be costly. There are many youth and service groups that may be willing to volunteer their time by coming in and working with senior residents.
Look into community activities like song and dance groups is a good place to start. There are also national organizations like Girl and Boy Scouts, who have service requirements. And do not be afraid to reach out to industry experts and speakers. You may be surprised just how many people are looking for ways to give their time and energy to benefit older generations.
This is another great way to help keep residents mentally and emotionally healthy. It can help them stay connected to topics or activities that are important to them. You can also use this as a sales pitch to families of potential residents. Many people will be excited to hear that their loved one will be encouraged to participate in social activities, and even take on responsibilities.
Depending on your facility and the success of your resident-run activities, you may also want to consider inviting family members to attend these workshops. This allows them to get a better sense of the community and to actively support their loved one.
The Bottom Line
Having a small budget or staff does not have to keep you from providing valuable and engaging activities to your residents. By getting creative, you can keep your facility’s social calendar full, improve the mental health of the seniors in your care, and provide growth opportunities for your staff.
It might feel overwhelming when you first start brainstorming activities. A good place to start is by asking your residents – either directly or via their loved ones – what types of activities they most enjoy or have gotten involved with in the past. Doing this can help tailor your social calendar with programs that are likely to get the most engagement.