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Showing appreciation for activities

Activities staff keep residents as busy as they want to be

This month, we’re celebrating the dedication and hard work of our activities staff. Nationwide, Activity Professionals Month is observed as a way to appreciate the people who plan and provide activities within senior living communities. Their work is key to helping our residents stay healthy, keep doing what they enjoy, trying new things, developing new friendships and refreshing older relationships.

According to the National Association of Activity Professionals, this is a job that emerged in health care centers about 50 years ago. The NAAP website has this to say about the group’s own history: “It was during these early years that the activity professional became known as the bingo, Bible study and birthday ladies. As the profession grew, so did the realization regarding the need for continuing education programs, conferences, workshops and seminars. The activity professional discovered quickly, there was more to activities than the three Bs.”

At Emporia Presbyterian Manor, Activity Director Jen Moran is approaching the new year with a focus on music and art, so residents can experience the fun and therapeutic benefits of both. Our new activities assistant, Ashley McIlvain, has “hit the ground running,” Jen said.

Here are just a few of their new additions for 2018:

Happy Hour for assisted and independent living: The first Happy Hour was in January, and we plan to continue with one every month. These social hours have their own theme and feature both alcoholic and soft drinks, as well as food. Executive Director Susan Siepelmeier is in charge of this month’s Happy Hour, Jen said, and she plans to make bourbon slushies using Nina Gragg’s recipe, which was a winner in our recipe contest last fall.

Monthly art class: Jen is a talented artist, and she’s looking forward to teaching painting techniques to residents in assisted and independent living. In January, the class painted winter scenes with a tree silhouette. The lesson showed how to blend colors for a wintery scene.

Bulletin board: Ashley also is curating a themed bulletin board in health care to reflect residents’ thoughts and memories. For January, it was “Ring in the New Year,” and she collected resolutions to post on the board. For this month, she’s filling out heart shapes with answers to questions such as “How did you meet your spouse?” “Tell me about your wedding,” and “Favorite love songs.”

Also in February, we’re looking forward to performances by the Sunshine Singers, with a playlist of “sweetheart” songs, in all levels of care. Our annual Valentine’s Day parties are just around the corner, too.

Please take a moment this month to show your appreciation for our activities staff!

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