Finding an assisted living community with a good activity program is a must when you’re seeking a community for your loved one. Many studies conclude that activities are a major social and emotional outlet for the assisted living resident and contribute significantly to their physical and mental well-being.
At the heart of any good assisted living community activity program is the Activity Director. This person is charged with organizing and overseeing all the community’s activities. A first-rate Activity Director is essential to a good life for your loved one.
At Senior Solutions, we recommend that you always interview assisted living activity directors when you visit assisted living communities. Here are six important questions to ask:
How do you view the role of activities in an assisted living environment?
Look for assisted living activity directors who understand that activities are key to keeping the mind and body challenged and stimulated during the day. Make sure they understand that activities promote socialization, which helps your loved one feel connected to the new residence.
How do you customize activities for every assisted living resident?
One of the biggest mistakes assisted living centers make is a focus on activities that work for most of the residents; this can leave those with special needs like physical, visual or hearing limitations out in the cold.
Furthermore, it can cause dissatisfaction and isolation for residents who don’t particularly enjoy those mainstream activities. The director needs to now what your dad or mom used to enjoy, can still enjoy, and find a way to work that into the calendar.
What kind of physical activities do you offer?
Take a very close look at the available physical activities. This is vital for seniors so they avoid or minimize many of the health problems that can come with age. An active senior has a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, bone mass loss, muscle deterioration … the list goes on and on.
And importantly, physically fit seniors have better balance and are less likely to suffer falls. According to the National Safety Council, falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among adults age 73 and older, and the second leading cause among those aged 60 to 73 years.
What about mental activities for my folks?
Good assisted living activity directors understand the link between cognitive function and mental stimulation. One study of more than 5,500 participants age 65 years or older concluded that stimulating leisure activities were significantly associated with a reduced risk of dementia.
Look for programs that include, for example, word games, digital learning tools, scavenger hunts, cooking classes (which combine both physical and mental activity), puzzles, and crafts.
Do you include activities that tie into the local community?
Many seniors were active volunteers before they moved into assisted living. Volunteerism gives seniors a chance to serve a valuable community role and feel they have an important purpose in their day-to-day life. A good assisted living activity program should include some outside community service projects.
For example, some groups knit caps or blankets for local children’s hospitals. Other groups help create community gardens with Boy or Girl Scout troops or assemble care packages for soldiers.
Do you have a resident council that can suggest new activities?
Residents should have choices in their schedule and activities and that’s where a good resident council can be important. This is the resident’s home and they deserve a say in what goes on.
What other questions would you ask assisted living activity directors? We would love to hear any ideas you would have so we can help our Activity Directors best serve our residents and their families!
Make sure to check out our other blogs to learn more about what a Senior Solutions Management Group community can provide for your loved one!