It seems as if it is the little things that can sometimes matter the most as one gets older. This study shows the power of organized activities in improving the lives of elders that live in nursing homes. My background is in therapeutic recreation and the idea of recreational and leisure pursuit is always in the back of my mind. The hobbies and activities people have pursued throughout their lives changes, but the feeling people receive from play remains the same. There is fun, joy, challenge, mastery, laughter and the unique connection we make with people when engaged in the same activity. We lose ourselves.
I have seen first- hand what a difference a good activities director can make whether it is in a nursing home or assisted living. The quintessential activities director is someone I know. She works in a nursing home that is dated and somewhat drab, but provides good care. The quality that stands out? Her attitude. She is energized and happy and imparts that to the residents. Any time of day that there are activities going on in the common room, there is a good sized crowd participating.
What about when someone lives at home and has private care providers coming in? An agency should ask about the activities a person can still participate in. That information can guide the care provider in offering those activities, and perhaps some new ones as well.