Most of us turn to our hobbies to unwind and have some fun, as it should be! For seniors, though, leisure activities can play a much more critical role – in sharpening cognitive ability, keeping the mind active and engaged, and preventing the symptoms of depression that can lead to serious health problems. Sometimes a move to assisted living causes seniors to question if they’ll be able to still pursue the hobbies they love – and for the vast majority, the answer is yes! Assisted Living communities place a high priority on making sure their residents feel at home, active, and engaged – and creating opportunities for them to do the things they love is a huge part of that. We recently spoke with LCB Engagement Director Matt Torrance to hear more about how this plays out in a typical assisted living setting.
When new residents move in, how do LCB community associates work with them to find out what their interests and passions are?
While we want residents to acclimate to their new home at their own pace, our staff checks in early on to learn about new community members’ interests and passions, and what they hope to continue pursuing with us. We then get to work making sure our programming reflects and supports these interests. Our Engagement Directors also make sure residents are aware of and exposed to interests other than their own, to promote lots of different enrichment opportunities.
Can you give us an example or two of residents who have been able to pursue their favorite pastimes after moving into Assisted Living?
Jeanette is a writer, editor, and poet who has lived at our Five Corners community for years. Our Newsletter News Editor program is a natural fit for her, as she’s able to help design, write, and edit the monthly newsletter that’s by the residents for the residents. She also participates in our weekly Poetry Workshop, where she and other residents present their works to an audience that in turn provides feedback and support. Last but not least, our Five Corners Book Club is a big favorite of Jeanette’s. It’s designed like a college American literature class, with weekly readings, discussions, and other assignments. So Jeannette has been able to continue doing all the things she did before moving to our community, plus a lot more.
Joy is an actress from NY. She was a bit nervous about moving to our community, worried she wouldn’t have much opportunity to flex her performing muscles. We worked with Joy to design a program entitled “Who Were You … ?” where she interviews residents, staff, and family members in front of a live audience. Not only does Joy get to hone her presentation skills, but we’re learning a lot about one another as well! We also perform ten minute shows together, which Joy and a lot of the other residents really enjoy.
Do you ever see residents spread this passion around to other community members? Do they teach one another different hobby activities?
They sure do – often at our daily Happy Hour, where they come together to socialize, share the day’s activities, and just hang out. The Happy Hours are always well attended, and are often the time when community members share experiences and encourage one another to try new things.