IS THE DIRECTOR OF RESIDENT ENGAGEMENT THE NEW ACTIVITY DIRECTOR?

By October 13, 2020Uncategorized

Back in the day (and maybe today as well) most senior housing communities had someone with the title of Activity Director.  It was the job of that individual to design a program basically to keep residents busy.  Things like Bingo, Paint by Number, Sing-Alongs, making decorations, were typically part of an activity program.  No doubt, things of this sort (and there is a long list) can be entertaining but will residents of the next generation (and even many in the current generation) appreciate something more?  Senior Housing should not be like a moat, separated from the community around it. Undoubtedly, there are opportunities for seniors to volunteer and make a contribution to the larger community.  What if the “activity director” identified ways on which residents who wished to engage in outside community and brought these opportunities to the attention of residents?  It could begin with the staff member talking to each resident to find out what they would be interested in doing.  The next step would be to make connections throughout the community to see if they could match the resident with an organization that would value their involvement.  I heard of a great example many years ago when a nursing home administrator asked a resident what he had always wanted to do and never had the chance to pursue this.  The answer was, “I wanted to be a teacher but I couldn’t raise my family on that salary”.  The administrator visited the local high school and asked a staff member if there might be some students who would like an older mentor.  The answer was “yes” and the match was made!  Having meaning in your life continues as long as you live.