On your search for the right long-term care community for you or your loved one, sometimes it can feel overwhelming to navigate all the amenities and opportunities offered in senior living communities. One of the most vital aspects to explore is a community’s Life Enrichment offerings.
You may be wondering, “But what is ‘Life Enrichment’ exactly, and what are the markers of a great Life Enrichment team?”
We’ve created this guide to help you gain insight into your options, so you can choose the perfect community for you or your loved one. “Life enrichment” includes programs meant to support the social, mental, spiritual, and physical well-being of each and every resident, all while providing opportunities for engagement and connection. Life enrichment teams create a variety of activities, events, and opportunities based on residents’ care levels—from independent living and assisted living to memory care.
Fieldstone Communities’ mission statement is “Together we create joyful and vibrant communities.” Residents and their families are one of the most important part of our communities. It is the people who make up the heart of who we are. But how do we create joy and vibrance within our communities? A brilliant, dedicated Life Enrichment team plays a huge part.
Adjusting to any move can be challenging at any age or stage in life, and transitioning to senior living is certainly no exception. That’s why it’s so vital that staff go the distance to care for residents in meaningful ways that nurture connection and enjoyment of life.
To light the way as you delve into your options, we’ve reached out to one of our expert Life Enrichment directors at Fieldstone Cornell Landing, Armanda Soto-Salcedo. She offers these important questions you can be sure to ask the staff on your senior living search:
- How do you engage residents who are not interested in planned events?
Listen closely to staff’s answer to this question. While a robust activities calendar is important for any senior living community, a lot of scheduled activities doesn’t necessarily equate to a lot of engaged residents. Great Life Enrichment departments know every activity will not appeal to every resident. They recognize residents’ diverse interests and know the first step to engage those who may seem uninterested is to get to know them—learn their story, their unique interests, and in turn, use that insight to design activities that may interest them. Armanda explains, “Getting to know residents is one of the greatest things a Life Enrichment team can do. When you get to know a resident and their life, you can form a true connection. That feeling of being seen is invaluable because it nurtures residents’ well-being and their sense of belonging.”
- How do you make sure all residents feel included in group activities?
A strong Life Enrichment staff pays close attention to resident engagement. They should notice when someone may be feeling left out or outshined by more outgoing personalities. Armanda cleverly invites those who may be more reserved on the sidelines to take photos and videos to help bring them into the group. A great Life Enrichment staff knows how to creatively and respectfully include every person so they feel connected. Our connection with others is so powerful it can reduce stress and anxiety and provide a sense of belonging, which contributes to positive self-esteem.
- What do you take into account while planning your activities calendar?
Listen for these key factors Armanda reveals below that contribute to residents thoroughly enjoying themselves. When residents have a fabulous time, they are sure to attend future events!
Creativity: A great life enrichment team thinks outside the box and tries new things often. While “tried and true” activities are important, such as art or walking groups, it’s just as important to continuously offer fresh, unique options to choose from. Armanda loves to plan new craft ideas, science experiments, Super Bowl parties, and more!
Timing: It might seem obvious that scheduling is important, but it could very well be overlooked. The timing of an event can greatly affect residents’ response. Pay close attention to the calendar and be sure the community’s schedule aligns you or your loved one’s lifestyle.
Responsiveness: Successful Life Enrichment programs know how essential it is to recalibrate after receiving feedback from residents when planning more activities. Knowing your audience and catering to them is the golden rule of planning a fun event or activity everyone will enjoy.
Finally, be sure to ask how the community has adapted their Life Enrichment opportunities during COVID-19.
Independent, assisted, and memory care communities should all be well-equipped and aware of their county’s regulations. Imagination and resilience are necessary traits for staff to continue to offer meaningful opportunities for Life Enrichment.
Be sure to ask what kits they have created for creative, engaging activities! For example, Fieldstone Cornell Landing's Life Enrichment team created small portable science kits for each resident with supplies, instructions, and notebooks where residents record their findings. A caregiver assists anyone who needs a hand and also discusses the experiment with them. It’s been a fun, safe way for residents and staff to learn new things!
At its heart, vibrant Life Enrichment hinges on the staff’s commitment to building relationships with their residents. Our Fieldstone Life Enrichment directors are carefully selected for their compassion, patience, creativity, leadership, and passion for enriching seniors’ lives to the fullest measure.
Each Fieldstone Community tailors Life Enrichment opportunities around the diverse, unique, interesting residents who make up each community. There is a little of everything—delightful travel-themed Dinners Around the World, aromatherapy, art shows, cuddly therapy dogs, clever crafts, and musical experiences to transport, comfort, and awaken—just to name a few! For us, providing Life Enrichment is the chance of a lifetime to create opportunities that nourish spirits, form bonds, and stir laughter. That’s what vibrant and joyful means to us.
We hope you find this guide useful as you consider a long-term care community for you or your loved one. For more details about Fieldstone’s Life Enrichment opportunities, please reach out to the expert Resident Navigator at the Fieldstone community near you: https://www.fieldstonecommunities.com/communities/