In an effort to foster improved quality of life for our residents, we recently hired a new activities director who is responsible for coordinating events and outings that contribute to the personal well-being of our residents. Over the past couple of months, she has introduced several initiatives that have greatly enhanced our residents’ lives in a meaningful way, including:
Our staff’s close relationship with residents has enabled them to establish a personal connection with each individual and discover their unique passions, hobbies and hidden talents. One resident, a former announcer and radio personality, has a unique gift and love of performing. As a way to recognize his passion and enable him to contribute to our center’s activities in a meaningful way, we recently established a fun, new morning announcement series so he can share his love of performing with others.
As part of our morning announcements, we also introduced the word of the day in an effort to help improve our residents’ cognitive skills and memory retention. After the word of the day is announced, Tracey, our activities director, will visit each patients’ room to see how their day is going. If they can recall the word of the day, she will allow them to pick out a special gift from her prize box.
Since instituting the word of the day, we’ve seen a substantial increase in our residents’ short-term memory, many of which live with cognitive conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
In Tracey’s interaction with residents, she also discovered that one of the gentleman held a position as a former chef with the Detroit Yacht Club. She wanted to find a way to enable him to express his passion for cooking, so we instituted our cooking demonstration sessions as a way to recognize his unique gift.
He was immediately excited for the opportunity to rekindle his love for the culinary arts and decided to teach our other residents how to create a special hors d’oeuvres: a graham cracker smeared with peanut butter and drizzled with honey. His creation received rave reviews from the residents who attended his demonstration, and it gave us great satisfaction, too.
Watching him give his cooking lesson was a gratifying experience. As he ever so carefully drizzled the honey on the graham cracker, we could see his eyes light up as if he traveled back in time to his glory days as a chef with the Detroit Yacht Club. He was so full of life, and we could sense that this exercise brought back a sense of purpose and pride for him as an individual.
We truly feel these new additions to our activities program, while seemingly small in nature, have produced a tremendous amount of joy among our residents. We also have a men’s social club called the Knights of St. Francis, as well as a Women’s of St. Francis Club, to foster connectivity between our residents and members of the community.
Not only have these activities enabled us to recognize and reward our residents by tapping into their unique talents and individual passions, it has helped improve their emotional health, interconnectivity with other residents and cognitive skills.
We look forward to building upon the momentum we’ve gained through our activities program and have several other events, including Motown Monday, that we’re planning on rolling out in the near future as a way to celebrate the history of Detroit and the unique interests of our residents.