For decades, there have been a few tried and true standards for residents: Every holiday, residents parade through the facility with staff, bedecked in festive hats and accessories and marking Valentine’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July and the like. There are also competitive bingo games, spirited exercise classes and movie nights.
Since being in charge of the Activities department of the skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility, the CCC has revitalized itself, adding more activities, events, offerings, and specialties.
CCC Director of Nursing Riitta Speer says there are many benefits to activity and stimulation for elderly residents. “Activities decrease residents’ isolation and help them stay connected with their past lives,” she says. “In essence, activities help to ‘prevent’ dementia by keeping the mind active and engaged. It reduces and prevents depression.”
All week long, music is played -- Bible songs, show tunes, guitar classics, karaoke, country hits or rock and roll. Word games, dominoes, armchair travel, painting classes, table games and storytelling are on the list as well.
There’s Poker Night, and an animal therapy group comes once a month. “Activities and stimulation provide a human contact and a sense of being part of a community,” Speer explains. “Physical activity helps to maintain physical well-being and keeps joints limber and moving.” Resident Ron Lindemann is a frequent visitor in the activities department.
I am impressed with the expansive variety of things we can get involved with. A resident for 1 1⁄2 years, I used to regularly play bingo but found I was running out of space in my room because of all the prizes and tokens I was winning.
I play an awful lot of the balloon ball. I enjoy the exercise I receive from it. I came to the CCC initially four years ago as a dietary worker and segued my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree into my new role. Excellence in customer service is my priority.
In the case of helping the elderly living in our skilled nursing facility, I’m not selling a product so much as selling a concept that you still have the ability to have a meaningful and productive life filled with joy and purpose.
Residents can participate in holiday light tours in the winter; summer beach visits; senior prom; shopping trips and more for a “home-like atmosphere.”
Residents are aided throughout their days by employees Margarita Chagoya; Bertha “Licha” Herrera; Joe Lugo; Silvia Palacios; Margarita Ruiz and Martha Rodriguez
A new addition to activities is the Serenity Room, aimed at the seniors with severe dementia.
The purpose of this activity to provide a calm and relaxed atmosphere in a group setting with individualized activity for each resident. This program has been very successful in helping the residents be more at ease and comfortable in their surroundings. The liveliness of the Activity Room attracts family members and volunteers as well.
Many times I hear how much it means to the family knowing their loved ones are in good hands and having the best life possible while they are here in our care. I look forward to many more opportunities of creating dynamic programs that are appropriate and attainable for the seniors in our care.