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In the two years since COVID-19 flipped our world upside down, activity and life enrichment directors at senior living communities have discovered unexpected and creative ways to keep residents engaged when social activities were put on pause.
Without the ability to connect to each other through the group classes and activities that filled their days, seniors suffered from ongoing isolation that impacted their mental and physical health. Yet, out of the heartache came hope and a renewed focus on caring for the whole person.
During COVID-19, life enrichment team members worked one-on-one with residents to ease their loneliness and keep their minds active through games, hobbies, technology, and outdoor exercise. By building more personal connections, staff gained a deeper understanding of each individual’s background and personality and could better tailor activities to their interests. This person-centered approach to care helped residents better weather the challenges of the pandemic.
As senior living communities slowly ease back into group classes, person-centered activities still need to remain a focus of staff. Yes, social connection is essential to a senior’s health, but giving older adults more choices in their daily life provides them a sense of autonomy that improves their confidence, self esteem and overall satisfaction.
Your activity lineup should be as diverse as the seniors you serve. Just as a 20-year-old has different interests than a 40-year-old, a 70-year-old in your care may seek more active hobbies than a 90-year-old. Or, an introverted resident may need a break from a group dance class by journaling with one or two other people.
While budget, time and staff constraints can make balancing group and person-centered activities extremely difficult for busy activity directors, embracing online options allows you to customize classes to each resident’s preferences. For instance, the versatile Artfully Aging watercolor program gives you complete flexibility in how you deliver meaningful art sessions. Staff can offer both large group classes where participants happily share stories and memories with each other as they paint or smaller, more intimate sessions that strengthen the resident/caretaker bond and allow seniors to slow down and relax. In addition, the wide variety of available projectsappeals to seniors’ different interests.
To learn more about Artfully Aging’s person-centered art program, click here to discover all of our incredible benefits for your residents.