October 22, 2014
Health and Wellness, Retirement Community Ideas, Senior Living Depression Awareness Month, depression prevention, enrichment of life, loneliness, October, retirement living, senior living, senior living activities ideas
The elderly people in our lives are the ones who hold the memories, the wisdom, and knowledge we could only imagine — and their capacity for connection and love is a deep and needed thing. When my grandmother went into assisted living care, this was one of the essential things my parents wanted for her: to be in company of others to make connections and build relationships. On visits, the first thing she would talk about was her chat at the dining hall with a lady who shared her love for bird watching.
So, it is especially important for the elderly person — whether they arrived yesterday or years ago — to have meaningful connections and joyful experiences. Studies have shown that there are correlations between people, and not just seniors, having loneliness and developing depression. And all people, not just seniors, need social connections. By fostering authentic and genuine community, loneliness can be kept at bay.
As you plan for events in the coming autumn, your role is vital as a planner/activities director. Here are some tips to keep in mind for your residents:
- Facilitate relationships that have already been made with/between residents. If you know of already-existing friendships and pairings/groups of residents, do your best to seat them together at dinners or community functions. A familiar voice and face can make a world of difference!
- You can seat/group residents who don’t know each other based on history, likes and dislikes, or any helpful tidbits of info you can gather. While there is a chance no connections may come about, it is worth the venture if potential new friendships might be around the corner.
- Remember that no matter what activities you plan, the main objective is that residents are around each other and the staff. Even if things don’t go as planned or there needs to be a last minute change in logistics, it’s the quality time and being in the company of others that will matter for them.
- Try a range of different activities to accommodate the span of physical abilities that exist in your group of residents. This will provide an atmosphere of inclusion no matter what physical limitations residents may or may not have.
October is Depression Awareness Month. These tips can combined with your efforts will help make your residents have enriching social experiences and hopefully help keep depression at bay!
For further reading on mentioned medical studies: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3016701/
WebMD expert resources on preventing and dealing with depression: http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/october-depression-awareness-month