Everyone here at Sensations Memory Care Residence have a special job to ensure that our residents are receiving quality of care, as well as making sure the business runs smoothly. Today, I would like to emphasize our Activity Department and what a huge role they play in our residents lives. Here at Sensations, we really put a great deal of time planning our activities to make sure they will keep our residents engaged and that the duration of the activities will run smooth for their day. We have an Activities Associate that comes daily from the hours of 10am to 6:30pm. We have a monthly calendar that specifies different activities we will be doing for the month, then we also have a general calendar with hour by hour activities listed. The Activities Department does much more than just keeping our residence busy, they stimulate them in hopes they can calm behaviors, they also give our residents confidence to engage in an activity they may not have done before, and they become that friendly face for our residents.
When scheduling our general calendar, we have to think about what is going to keep the residents interested, and at what time of the day that activity will receive best participation. For example physical activity is very important; we have what we call fitness fun first thing in the morning when everyone has had their breakfast, and are ready to start the day. Fitness fun includes stretching, chair exercise, bike pedals, stretchy bands, and even pom poms are great to exercise with. Later in the afternoon we have a time slot for recreation riot, which this is also a great time for exercise and fun together. During this time we will throw bean bags into a hoop, play a little kickball, bowling, and even have fun with the parachute. These are great ways our residents stay active and also a good way to keep their strength up so we have less falls and injuries. Plus, who doesn’t like to have fun and stay active at the same time.
It is also very important to keep our resident’s active mentally as well. That old saying goes, “if you don’t use it you will lose it!” This saying is very true for people with the Alzheimer’s disease. The worst thing you can do is set them in front of a television all day long, which actually speeds up the process. So part of our day consists of reminiscing, games galore, and art action. Reminiscing is a great way to get someone’s brain going. You could talk about a specific world event, or a childhood memory. If we start talking about holiday traditions our lady residents will start talking about dinners they would make for their families or the tradition of gift giving. When playing games we try to keep is simply yet challenging to make them try to think outside of the box. We play a lot of trivia, rhyming games, and of course our favorite bingo. When planning out our day we make sure we interchange different games because if you play the same game over and over your mind will eventually get us to it and it’s no longer a challenge. Art is another way to keep people stimulated, we color a lot at Sensations which is great to do as a group, but you are coloring your own page so you still have your own individuality in what you are doing.
We also have a lot of great volunteers that come in and provide services for our residents that allow them to experience different activities. There is a gal who comes in every Tuesday and brings her dogs for pet therapy. Pet therapy can be a wonderful comfort for residents; it’s a soothing feeling to pet an animal. We have another gal who comes in every Thursday and plays the piano for us which is great, if someone is having a bad day, music always perks them right up. We also have a young lady from the local high school who comes in once a week to spend extra quality time with our residents which everyone enjoys her. There is a local pastor who comes in once a month for a church service, which is great as it’s hard for majority of our residents to get out and about. We have a group of women that come in once a month to celebrate holidays, birthdays, provides arts and crafts which everyone enjoys. We have young adults from the community that come in once a month to make cards with the residents. They enjoy the inter generational experiences. Volunteers are a great resource we have for our residents; it gives them new faces to see, and new experiences to endure.
Here at Sensations we really take great pride in how our activity department runs. Activities for the day can be a big part on how our residents might react when sun-downers comes around in the later part of the afternoon. Our hope is that the more activity we provide during the day, then the evening will be calmer with behavior. We will have less fall and injuries, if our residents are stronger that means the care will be less time consuming for our staff. Some people think our day is too scheduled, but people with Alzheimer’s need the structure and consent schedule so their day can be more enjoyable. They often will forget what we do day to day, but the majority for our residents know that there is something always going on tin the Park. I have to proudly say there is only one person out of our 30 residents who doesn’t participate at all in our program. You will also notice when touring other facilities, the majority of the time, their residents are by themselves in their rooms, but not at Sensations!!