Bingo, rosary and sing a longs are the core of most activities in many senior settings. Although we can never… ever..ever… remove bingo from our calendars, there is more we can be doing to enrich our residents’ lives. We are at a point where times are changing, as we continue our journey through what’s known as culture change and so is our understanding at Artman, of what residents need and want from us. My name is Katelyn McKinley and I am the Director of Community Life at Artman, Liberty Lutheran’s senior living community in Ambler, Montgomery County. I have the privilege of supervising a community life staff that provides our residents with daily activities and events to enhance the resident’s quality of life and provide them with a wonderful meaningful day.
We are at an exciting time where activities are no longer about just keeping people busy and filling time. There is more to it. It is about having a deeper meaningful understanding of who each person is, knowing the ins and outs of that person, and becoming invested in person-centered care for each and every resident. Every resident is unique with an individual spirit we have the privilege of enhancing. We should not be grouping them all together and expecting residents to only want to do bingo, rosary or a sing along. It is about how we can encourage purposeful engagement and provide residents with a meaningful day each and every day. At Artman I am striving to encourage my staff to have smaller purposeful groups instead of large “activities” where many may not even be engaged or want to participate. It’s not about the amount of activities we have per day it’s more about the amount of purposeful and meaningful activities we have per day that counts.
We are transitioning from a traditional activities calendar with daily activities and those common times of 10 and 2, to one with meaningful engagement and spontaneous activities. We will never take away the activity calendar with scheduled programs but we will add more and have more going on such as those spontaneous activities that are not scheduled. In your home you constantly have spontaneous activities happening and that’s what we want happening at Artman. All staff are encouraged to partake in spontaneous activities whether sitting down and having a chat with the residents about a show they are watching or grabbing a group of residents for a small group on reminiscing about their favorite summer trips they took with their family. It’s the moments with the staff and residents that encourage relationship building and making memories together that count. We want to recreate their life here at Artman and not force people to only have the options of attending activities at 10 and 2. We want life to happen at Artman. If the residents want to do it we do it! We put the resident before the task and make it happen. It’s their choice, their home and their life we are just here to join them in living it and make the endless possibilities happen. We are lucky that we get to join the residents in living their life and we will do whatever we can to make it the brightest day possible!