Active Aging Week is fast approaching! Our staff started planning this year’s events months ago - I’m talking work groups starting back in early April. We wait patiently for the ICAA to roll out the annual theme and then the creative geniuses of our staff get to work. As we continue to fine tune the last details of the events coming up on September 22-26, staff and residents alike are excited and the buzz of Active Aging Week is in the air! Read on to learn why we put so much advanced planning into our week of events:
- It Takes a Village: for an over the top successful Active Aging Week, we’ve learned that the more involvement we include from different community staff, the better! When residents hear about various staff and departments being involved in the planning of the events, they won’t be able to resist getting caught up in the buzz and excitement. As we map out our events for each day of the week, we flag which programs could benefit from the added skill sets and passions of other community personnel (not just your activities and fitness staff) as well as resident volunteers. We then spend time working with these folks on their creative ideas and how they can contribute to the program in a way that is meaningful and fun for them! When you plan well in advance and can speak with staff about how they could volunteer, you have time on your side to coordinate this additional layer of community involvement!
- Set Your Event Apart: our staff have annual planning calendars of the various fitness and wellness programs they already offer to residents each month of the year. It takes an additional effort from a planning standpoint (what can we do that is fun, creative, innovative, etc.), but also from a marketing standpoint to help Active Aging Week rise above the rest. It’s a lot of work (fun work mind you, but work none-the-less) planning daily events, so we like to take it to a new level to make sure we get the participation!
- Diversify “Active” Offerings: when residents hear “Active Aging Week” it’s important to help them identify that the week isn’t just about those who are physically active. As we map out our day to day plans for week, we reflect on the eight dimensions of wellness and ensure that each one is touched on in some way or multiple ways throughout the week’s events. This can span more resident interests and abilities than simply focusing on physical activity options alone. It’s important to recognize residents for being active in the community in a way that is meaningful for them so don’t overlook these opportunities to diversify your program options.
- Add Some Friendly Competition: residents often ask our staff what kinds of programs and participation NIFS has established at other communities - they can’t fathom that any community could be as active as theirs (insert our sly smile here…) During Active Aging Week, we report daily participation totals in the events we plan for a friendly competition amongst the communities we serve. Staff report daily standings on a printed display board and communities are able to see how their participation fairs to other communities (scores all are weighted of course to account for varying occupancy levels). Residents truly rally together inviting their neighbors to events to best represent their community’s active lifestyle. Collaborate with neighboring senior living communities or create an internal competition with a focus on daily participation goals!
Whether you are offering a small or large scale Active Aging Week this year, kudos for your efforts in supporting an active and engaging lifestyle for the seniors you serve. Best of luck for a successful year!