I am always astonished to see how influential recreation activities can keep residents engaged. As someone who has recently joined the recreation team at Bay Haven Care Community, I am already beginning to see how activities such as Bingo, happy hour, musical performances, outings, and trivia games can enhance a resident’s overall experience at their retirement home. As a Recreation Assistant, it is my job to make residents happy and to enhance their quality of life as much as possible.
Here are 4 things I learned on my first week as a Recreation Assistant.
It is always important to keep this in mind as you provide your recreation activity. If you are providing a program for a group of 20 residents, it is important to always interact with each person individually as much as possible. You always want the residents to know that they are a crucial part of the activity that you are providing for them. The more interactive you are, the better.
2. Follow the 7 Dimensions of Well-being.
The seven dimensions of well-being is a holistic approach to programming that Bay Haven ensures to provide for their residents. The seven steps are:
- Emotional: Coping with challenges and behaving in a trustworthy and respectful way. This creates emotional wellness and helps counsel stress, management, humour/laughter and personal stories.
- Intellectual: Providing creative pursuits and intellectually stimulating activities is proven to keep minds alert and interested and it can slow down the process of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
- Physical: If you provide a physical program throughout the day, residents will feel better emotionally, as they will be releasing “feel good” endorphins from their body.
- Vocational: It is important for everyone to have a purpose and feel needed with a specific goal in mind. This step is a great way for residents to be connected with the community!
- Social: Social interactions with family, friends, and co-residents can be valuable to maintain good health for the residents.
- Spiritual: Residents at Bay Haven can practice their own religious morals and faith. Living with a meaning and purpose of life is key to feeling a connection to the larger world.
- Environmental: It is important for everyone to get outside whenever possible. If the weather is bad, we will bring the environmental programs inside.
These seven steps are a crucial part of being a Recreation Assistant. In order to provide life enrichment to all of our residents, a Recreation Assistant must always keep these seven steps in mind.
3. Create a variety of programs.
It is important to provide a variety of programs for the retirement home you are working for. Repetitive programs will make the residents lose interest. A variety of creative and interactive programs will be beneficial for the overall experience as a Recreation Assistant. Doing this will also alter the experience for your residents, making them happier and more interested in their daily activities. Always remember, keep an open-mind, use your creativity, and have fun!
4. Have fun and be patient.
Two of the most important steps of becoming a great Recreation Assistant is to make sure you always have fun, and to be patient. The beautiful part of this job is that you get to have fun with the residents! The variety of games, performances, activities and events that you will be hosting for the residents are enjoyable! However, you must be patient as well. The number one rule that every Recreation Assistant must know is that the residents always come first. If they need to do something urgent in the middle of your program, simply allow them to go. This is their home and their life; always understand that.
These are 4 things that I learned on my first week as a Recreation Assistant.
Marco Sanfilippo — Recreation Assistant/Marketing Specialist