How to Rekindle the Spark
We hear a LOT about burnout in this field. And it’s real. It is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion. It is often accompanied by a change in attitude, from positive and caring to …not so much. It’s good to recognize the signs of burnout before it starts to dim the light on the important work you do every day. So, take care of yourself and consider what it might feel like to change things up in your community, not only for your seniors, but for YOU.
What do I mean by “change things up”? Many of us get hooked into the idea that producing non-stop activities is actually “doing more” for our seniors. This is one of the ideas that can lead to a burned-out Activity Director. Sometimes we need to take a step back and evaluate out activity goals.
When a decision is made to make Lifelong Learning a central theme in your community, you organize your activities around an educational idea to build on, not a stream of disconnected one-off activities. This way you can deliver more meaningful interaction with less “busyness”. You’ll see the impact you make in a different way, and that is MOTIVATING!
The other benefit to a robust Lifelong Learning program is that we promote a culture where seniors ask, “what are we learning about this month?” When we ask seniors to share their perspectives on a topic, they feel their voices are being heard. In doing so, we dispel the notion that feelings of sadness, loneliness, and isolation are normal emotional changes that occur in older age. In a world where our elders are easily dismissed, a thought-provoking conversation can boost self-esteem and make life richer for everyone. But it all starts with some organized learning. And when we learn together, we always have something to talk about!