You’ve planned your activities for the month. Spent weeks preparing, arranging, and organizing unique and fun ways to enliven and enhance the lives of your beloved residents. Then, when it’s show time, few attend and only some of the attendees participate. Activity Profs, does this sound familiar to you?
It’s no secret that getting senior residents to participate in activities can pose a challenge at times. But when they do show up and seem to genuinely enjoy themselves; boy, does it make all the hard work worth it. Really, nothing beats the feeling of knowing you touched the lives of your residents and made their day better.
Well, we want you to feel those warm and fuzzy successful feels all the time, so we thought we’d share some simple ways to encourage resident participation and enthusiasm for the events you plan.
There’s a Reason Why
Don’t be discouraged when your residents aren’t really into the event planned for the day. Most likely, they are going through a lot and life can be tough for a number of reasons — whether it’s a condition, an ailment, or they’re just having a bad day. Here are some of the reasons that prevent participation.
- Lack of Self Esteem
- Dealing with a Loss
- Prevented by an Ailment
So Many Benefits
On the flip side, there are so many benefits to seniors participating in activities.
- Make Friends
- Get Healthier
- Challenge the Mind
People, at any age, are generally happy when they have the comfort and support of friends. As long as older adults are working their brains and bodies while they can, they are reducing the risk and speed for decline in Alzheimer’s and dementia. And it is never too late in life to learn a new hobby or touch up current skills.
Of course there are many more, but after reading these three benefits, that’s really all we need to know.
Now, if only there were ways to boost the attendance and presence of those who have a hard time motivating themselves. Well, there are! And we’ve laid few out for you below.
Ask, Listen, Act
The first step to understanding the needs of residents is to actually ask them about their interests, what makes them happy, and how they feel on any given day. Of course, absorbing the information is only helpful for the next step, which is acting on the feedback they’ve provided. Sometimes that means switching things up and creating a new activity plan. That may cause headache and more budget, but if it means making your residents happier and engaged, it’s totally worth it.
Are some of your residents reluctant to make new friends? Who can blame them? Nobody wants to make new friends at an old age. So if they don’t want to put the time in, you can always do the work for them. It’s easy. Do a little research on your residents and match them with others that have similar personalities, likes, and interests. Use assigned seating for events so it seems more organic than forced.
Create Special Interest Groups
Based on your research of likes and dislikes of the residents, find the common thread. On top of playing matchmaker, you can group multiple people together for gatherings like movie review groups, poetry readings, knitting, gardening, and more. Don’t expect all residents to like the subject matter of events you plan, but create opportunity for those that genuinely do. Be sure to hold them on a regular basis. If you’ve got momentum, don’t stop!
Don’t Plan Too Much
Planning a variety of events is always important, but it’s not always about that. If residents show interest in a certain event, repeat that event a couple times a month. If the goal of your activities is to make an impression on your residents, then you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. Over planning will drive you crazy.
If you’re looking to easily broadcast your voice so that residents can hear and improve the engagement at events, Eversound might be for you. Eversound is an audio technology that helps aging adults combat natural hearing loss and enable more focus, alertness, and engagement during activities and events. With a volume dial on each pair, residents are able to fine-tune their personal listening experience so they are able concentrate on the activity at hand instead of straining to hear. Over 300 communities are using Eversound headphones, and more and more are testing them each day.
Include Loved Ones
Anyone have kids that just feel more comfortable when a parent, relative, or friend is around? You know, the kids that hold on to your leg in public and never let go. News flash: That feeling your kid has never really goes away. Everyone always feels more at ease when they’re around someone they know. So why not add a level of comfort to your special events and invite the people that give your residents the confidence and contentment they’ll need in order to enjoy themselves.
Make it Special
Dressing up for a special occasion is always fun. There’s just something more exciting about getting ready for and attending a special event. It gives you something to look forward to. So, create some buzz around the community halls, jazz up some of your events, and make them more memorable with all the touches of a special event. Send out invitations, hand deliver them to rooms, and ask attendees to wear dressy attire. Then, step up your décor game. You’ll have a popular event in no time.