Way back in March, we hoped that this Novel Coronavirus would be a memory by the end of April.
That is not how things played out.
In our Pre-Pandemic Days, when there was a glitch in the schedule or a temporary change in routine occurred, activity teams stepped up to ease the way. Typically, that looked like some fun and distraction for a short-term diversion: extra treats, perhaps a costume or two. THIS. IS. NOT. THAT.
We are still in the throes of this pandemic. And decorating the activity cart for the umpteenth theme is beginning to take its toll. On everyone. Activity pros are getting burned out, and seniors are responding to the diversions less and less.
Stop dressing in theme costumes, and decorating your cart, and standing on your head.
Start creating meaningful moments that are specific to your individual seniors. It is important to slow down on the busy and invest in relationships and experience curiosity together.
Let’s talk about how to achieve this.
With all due respect to root beer floats and waffle day fun, these are “add-ons”, not meaningful programming. Meaningful moments rarely happen on their own. They come from achieving something important like learning new information (Pride). They can happen when we look at something beautiful (Elevate). And they also happen when we gain an understanding of the world we live in (Connection). Those are the real experiences we want to offer seniors.
There are opportunities all around you to help create memorable experiences. Daily appreciation of art, music and poetry benefit seniors by creating a richness to their day.
Share beautiful art during one-on-one or small group visits. When a person views art they find beautiful, it triggers an immediate release of dopamine into the brain–a chemical related to feelings of being loved.
Invest in a good anthology of poetry. Consider that Poets compose their works with the ear in mind. Listening to poetry read aloud stimulates the brain to make connections.
There’s a lovely study that says as little as five minutes of uplifting music every day boosts happiness among listeners. Introduce a band or composer and listen to one song.
The restrictions around this pandemic are going to be with us for the foreseeable future. Our “new normal” is an opportunity to connect with our seniors in a different, maybe better way.
So give yourself a break – slow down, dig deep, remember to rest. A fresh and invigorated you is your best weapon against diversion burnout!