Activities Directors in assisted living and memory care environments are busy. They have a lot of balls in the air, not the least of which is some type of movement-based programming for their residents. Unfortunately, that specific element of their enrichment programming often takes a back seat to other priorities.
In a previous blog, I offered questions for leadership in assisted living and memory care environments to help them give new attention to what fitness options might be missing for their residents in assisted living and memory care environments. As we carry those questions forward and consider how to provide more comprehensive exercise classes and services, it’s easy halt progress because you’re overwhelmed by limits. After all, resources, like staffing, are often in short supply; and when you don’t have the people to pull off an excellent program, it becomes daunting to even consider a change.
At our upcoming workshop for senior living activity directors on March 7, 2017, we’ll discuss opportunities to piece existing resources together to enhance the health and fitness program for your IL, AL, SNF, and memory-care residents. Below you’ll find some tips to help you get started with exercise through the continuums.
3 Resources at your Fingertips: People, People, & People
- Passionate & Creative Activities Professionals: we often find that the activities staff are those responsible for providing daily exercise classes for residents. They are also those who are incredibly dedicated to finding enriching experiences and programming opportunities for their residents. We have found success with Train-the-Trainer programs where the NIFS fitness staff on campus provide tools and resources to activities personnel to create more variety and tailored offerings to residents.
- Qualified Fitness Staff: Many CCRC’s have group fitness instructors, personal trainers, or exercise physiologists supporting the health and fitness program for independent living (IL) residents on campus but they are limited in reach through the continuums of care. IL is where many residents begin to adopt a physically active lifestyle. With proper planning and strong communication, the existing fitness staff can bridge programming and resources to other continuums of care on campus.
- Supportive Clinical Staff: In communities without an IL component or where no regular fitness staff are present, therapy and nursing staff can play a more central role in supporting the day to day physical activity needs of residents. This can be key in residents maintaining the positive outcomes they gain as part of a spell in direct therapy services.
The passionate, caring, and dedicated staff in your senior living community might be your best untapped or underutilized resource in further serving the health and fitness needs of residents through any continuum of care. The great thing about these individuals I highlighted above is they likely already know many if not all of your residents, where individuals have struggled or what motivates them. The March 7 workshop hosted at NIFS will provide more details and action steps on how to bring a team oriented approach to supporting the health and fitness needs for you residents. With various hands and skillsets in the mix, you can support your residents in a whole new way. Stay tuned for part 3 of this blog series on additional resources to explore in enhancing your fitness offerings.