The COVID 19 virus continues to force long term care communities to adapt and keep up with the engaging and social interactions seniors need. Unfortunately, to keep seniors safe, the normal activity schedule has been abandoned and new programming must be implemented. Thankfully, small group programming can provide the same benefits and positive outcomes for residents. Additionally, with a little extra creativity and technology you can level up your programming and take stress off of your staff.
Small Group Programming Best Practices
While socially distancing and isolating are at times required, senior living communities may be able to loosen their precautions. This means small group dining and activities may become a viable alternative. Depending on the prevalence of the virus in the facility/community and availability of staff, bringing back group activity will have an instant positive impact on residents who have been isolated for months.
While it will be tempting to jump right back into the “norm,” it’s imperative staff and residents are aware of risks and continue to adhere to precautions. Here are some best practices when getting back to the swing of things:
- Small Groups: Keep groups under 10 persons and maintain social distancing.
- PPE: Masks are still required and hand hygiene should be encouraged.
- Staff: Be sure to have adequate staff to support residents and confirm rules are followed.
- Rotating schedule: Chances are, there is a long list of residents ready to get out and about and start interacting with their community friends. Be sure to implement a rotating schedule to provide the opportunity to all residents.
- Family Contact: Have contact with family to encourage safe visitation and sending cards and packages.
The best way to keep this transition smooth and safe is by using a scheduler to account for each resident and any visitation for families. Scheduly.app can be used to keep organized and send reminder text messages to families.
Improvements For Small Group Programming
There are opportunities to enhance the experience and engagement with small groups! It’s always a good idea to get the suggestions from residents themselves, what do they want to do or experience? Also, remember the roll isolation and stress have on the mental health of your residents. Include mentally stimulating activity and encourage families to keep connected.
All humans need mental stimulation and engagement. Seniors, in particular, are a vulnerable population in terms of COVID and the isolation and stress that comes along with the pandemic can cause a distressing negative impact. Consider including these activities that encourage mental stimulation:
- Word Games
- Learning a new word
- Cooking a new recipe
Bring the Outside In:
Regardless of which precautionary phase your community is in, you can benefit from the live and recorded programming Eversound provides. With Eversound’s premium programming service, your community has access to recorded musical performances, exercise classes as well as lived streamed events from cultural institutions with subject-matter experts who engage residents and spark meaningful conversation.
There are 10 new, interactive events each month to choose from. This gives your residents the opportunity to explore the world in the comfort and safety of their community. There are events that feature food and beverage museums, astronomy, and aquariums just to name a few.
This programming gives a break to staff and takes the stress off filling an activity calendar. With the Eversound member portal, it makes it easy to pick and choose the programming your residents will love.
Keep Families in the Loop:
Families are dying to reunite with their loved ones and will often do whatever it takes to keep their senior loved ones in high spirits. Be sure to keep them in the know and support visitation and connection through video and phone.
This pandemic is unprecedented, so senior communities across the country have no guide book for how to handle this stressful time. With use of creativity, technology, and compassionate staff, residents can still get the engagement and mental stimulation they had pre-COVID and need for their health. At the least, be sure to follow best practices and consider Eversound headphones to provide accessibility and engagement to all seniors.