3 technologies for better Life Enrichment and Activities

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3 technologies for better Life Enrichment and Activities

Posted on January 17, 2010

Activity Directors and Life Enrichment Program Directors have seen their job description and requirements evolve deeply in the past twenty years. As demand and needs shift towards a less “institutionalized” life in retirement communities, huge challenges for the management of these facilities arises. One of the most common complaints comes from the lack of personalized and resident focused activities.
To keep current residents happy and attract new residents, communities need to offer daily activities calendars that include the following requirements:

  • Be both intellectually and physically stimulating
  • Takes care of gender by providing activities that suit males and females
  • Takes into account the age range and diversity of all residents
  • Adapts to socially active as well as “loner” types of residents
  • Provides group and individualized activity
  • Suit different types of impairments such as vision, hearing loss, dexterity and mental issues
  • Conform to care planning requirements by having “a systematic assessment and identification of a resident’s problems and strengths, the setting of goals, the establishment of interventions for accomplishing these goals.”

Given the little budget, time and assistance a typical staff has, such requirements are hard to achieve but are essential.
It is sometimes surprising to see that Activity Directors and Life Enrichment Program Directors forget to turn to technology to increase their efficiency and the reach of their efforts amongst residents.
In recent years, several products and services have gained a lot of interest and have now become standard tools for any Activity Directors. Here is a quick list of items that all communities should consider and test:

1. Activity Connection

ActivityConnection.com needs no introduction. With over 10% of the US market, it is the leading provider of services to Activity Directors. Their website offers elegant turnkey tools that simplify and ease the job of the activity staff and is used on a daily basis by thousands across the country and abroad.
This online resource is special because they offer “Ready-to-Go” activities with complete scripts and downloadable props. There are more than 35 sections on their site which are updated every month with hundreds of fresh ideas and activities.

2. Games such as the Wii

Who would have thought that seniors and retirement communities would embrace video games? Released in 2006 the Wii is now the best selling video game system ever. It has been praised for its novel approach for gaming by putting emphasis on the user interaction instead of pure processing power: Instead of just pressing different buttons to perform an action, most games use the actual natural movement. To play tennis, for example, one simply needs to mimic the action of hitting the ball and so forth
This has been a major hit with seniors as the games themselves are simple and very quick to grasp.
Some of the great advantages of such a product is that it provides good therapeutic excerice while remaining fun. It is also a great way to have group activities and introduce competition driven sports. Some retirement communities now organize regional championships!!!

3. Easy email and easy computing

Computers, email and internet do not have to be complicated. Actually, there are a few services that provide easy computing experience and simplify the process of “putting somebody online”.
Offering and teaching someone the option to use the Internet is a great way to connect them to the rest of the world. They have access to the news and an infinite number of resources on subjects they might enjoy reconnecting with or discovering. They can communicate and gain a higher level of social interaction while keeping up with friends and family news.
Leading communities around the country even organize Skype sessions so that residents can see relatives – Best of all: Skype is free!!!

We’ll soon be posting advice on how to successfully introduce these types of technologies