THANK YOU ACTIVITY PROFESSIONALS!
Throughout the past few months, Activity Professionals have had to stretch their creativity in more ways than they have ever had to. Keeping seniors connected with their families using iPad’s, serving meals to residents’ apartments, bringing ponies and dogs to visit at residents windows, as well as new babies, music therapy and exercise groups in the hall, birthday, anniversary and graduation car parades, are just a few of the innovative ways Activity Professionals have adapted their programming.
Trixie Prince of San Diego asked each of her residents the question: “I would trade a roll of toilet paper for________”. Though they never expected the residents to hand over a roll of that precious commodity, all of the staff worked to help fulfill their wishes. Residents asked for simple things like a chocolate sundae or a glass of champagne and when their wish was granted, their photo was posted on the wall. This gave residents something to look forward to and helped connect residents and staff even more than before. To thank their employee’s, Trixie and her team made S’more packets with a note saying “We need S’more employees like you” to every employee complete with graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallow.
State associations are also having to change how they do business. Washington State Association of Activity Professionals (WSAAP) along with many other states are going to host their annual educational conferences using technology like Zoom. The Activity Directors of Greater San Diego (ADGSD) have extended their membership for six months; they didn’t want their members worrying about paying dues during this critical time. They have also added a resource page on their website for members. Though the end of changes is not clearly in sight yet, we all need to continue being the positive light our residents depend on. What is clear, is the importance of taking care of ourselves so that we can continue be there for our residents on this strange journey. I have seen many Activity Professionals feeling overwhelmed and having trouble sleeping. So, it is vitally important now to not only recharge our batteries but recharge them more often. These are unique times, ones that the world has yet to conquer. We need to recognize the stress it is causing as well as the toll it is taking on our residents and ourselves. Just as you have taken care of your residents needs, be sure to take great care of yours as well.