There are certain considerations that sustain life such as eating, breathing, sleeping, etc. These are vital concerns that remain important no matter our age. But apart from those that meet our most basic survival needs, things that help us to flourish and enjoy life must be made available to us throughout the life cycle.
Activities geared towards seniors must be thoughtfully designed with regards to the abilities and interests of this demographic. This is one of the biggest challenges for activity directors in senior living communities, as the demands of the job often make it hard to successfully create and implement effective senior engagement opportunities.
In this article, we will detail some different categories of activities and show how effective senior living software such as Quiltt can make the activity planning process easy. With Quiltt, senior living staff can spend less time guessing about what is working well for residents and more time refining existing programs, communicating with residents’ families, and generally serving the residents as best they can.
Types of Senior Living Activities
Senior activities, and activities in general, can be grouped into 5 different categories:
1. Artistic Expression
It’s critical that we use our brains in an artistic manner. Often considered to be “right-brain” activities, referring to the side of the brain we use during artistic pursuits, art helps us think spatially and creatively. While these may seem like skills that are unimportant for everyday needs, research has shown that art-based activities can help us thrive later in life.
Activities that encourage artistic expression include:
2. Physical Engagement
Movement is important for individuals of all ages. For those in senior living communities, movement may be limited to seated activities or might require the use of assistive devices. Regardless of physical limitations, activities for seniors must include those that encourage physical movement.
Examples of activities that promote physical engagement for seniors are:
- Games that require standing, moving, throwing, etc.
3. Spiritual Support
Religion and spirituality are key components of health. Even if the seniors in an assisted living community have never participated in an organized religion, they more than likely could point to some spiritual component of their lives. While this can be a contentious subject and may require the outside help of religious and spiritual leaders, activities that provide spiritual support should be available to seniors.
The following list provides some suggestions for activities for senior spiritual support:
- Church services;
- Non-denominational spiritual gatherings;
- Meditation groups;
- Bible, Quran, religious text study groups.
4. Continuing Education
Even though our educational interests may change, we never stop wanting to learn. Seniors should be provided with opportunities to learn about a variety of topics through guest speakers, learning activities, and other means. Learning doesn’t have to be a stressful experience filled with time-sensitive exam taking. Rather, it can be a relaxed, conversational and experiential process that encourages growth from participants.
Below are some ideas for continuing education opportunities for seniors:
- Presentations on science topics;
- Mini-courses providing learning opportunities;
- Video “Master Courses” on various subjects.
While many of the options discussed above address various components of health and interests, sometimes seniors just want to participate in easy, leisurely activities. These can include fun games and presentations. It’s important to incorporate activities for growth, but equally vital that seniors have a chance just to kick back, relax, and enjoy a leisurely activity.
Leisure activities may include:
- Senior stand-up comedy;
- Movie nights;
- Trivia and board games.
How Effective Senior Living Software Makes Activity Planning Easy
The 5 categories of activities we discussed in the previous section may seem overwhelming to the activity director who already feels pressure from the job. But it’s important to note that activity staff doesn’t have to come up with and organize all of these activities on their own. In fact, technology has caught up with the needs of senior living activity staff, and the use of the best available apps makes it easier than ever to plan, implement, and analyze the effectiveness of your facility’s activities.
Quiltt Senior Living Software
Quiltt is the best, most comprehensive senior living software available. Senior living staff can use Quiltt in numerous ways that make their job easier including:
- Tracking attendance at specific events/activities using the mobile app. Instead of sign in sheets or using outdated pen and paper methods, senior living staff can easily track attendance at events. The Quiltt app makes it easy to do this and attendance information can be useful in measuring other, related data.
- Taking notes on resident participation in activities. Besides logging attendance data, Quiltt allows for subjective notes and comments to be easily added with regards to residents during events. If a certain group of residents seem to be responding very well to certain activities, but not to others, this subjective data can be useful in the future planning of activities.
- Communicating with residents and residents’ families in real-time. Residents’ families are often unable to attend many of the events at senior living facilities. However, they still want to be kept in the loop. Quiltt allows for real-time communication between residents, staff, and residents’ families. Sending a quick message to a resident’s daughter about how much they are enjoying a certain activity can bring a measure of connectedness to families who have loved ones living in senior living communities.
- Analyzing statistics. When you’re planning, setting up, supervising, and running a senior living activity, the last thing you want to do after the event is sit down and crunch numbers. Figuring out how effective the event was in terms of number of participants, subjective statistics related to resident engagement, and other metrics is a difficult task. Quiltt provides these statistics in an easy, readable manner that makes planning for future events an easy process.
- Creating calendars of events. With Quiltt, activity staff can easily copy and paste successful events to future dates, eliminate and modify events as needed, and perform virtually any other calendar-based need they may have.
Varied, consistent activities are vital to the health and well-being of seniors. Quiltt provides an effective an efficient way to manage all parts of an activity director’s job and this software bears consideration for all senior living communities.