If you ever have to considering a facility for your loved one, remember to check out the activity director. "Activity director?" you say..."what about the safety, staff, the cleanliness, the urine smell?" Well, those are a given. Of course, it's imperative that our loved ones have a safe and secure environment, with a well trained staff, that is spotless with no hint of urine smell. That's what we want. However....don't forget the activity director. Our girls....I just don't know how they do it. They truly love their job and it shows!
When I drove up into the parking lot yesterday, a pick up truck was backed up to the entrance of Jerry's facility. Draped from it were football banners and the tailgate was loaded down with nachos and chicken wings. We were having a tailgate party!
It was perfect football weather, clear, sunny and cold. Every resident was dressed up in their favorite team attire. For those who didn't have anything to wear, team shirts were provided. Tables and chairs were circling a game of corn hole and there was lots of cheering going on.
The great thing about where Jerry lives is the fact that the residents in the memory care unit are incorporated into the activities of the healthier assisted living folks. Remember, since Jerry is so much younger than the rest of the "others" (the healthy elders), he is treated royally by all of them. They are endeared to him and think of him as their own.
When I approached the "stadium" I could see Jerry sitting at a table with his buddies. He had no idea what was going on, but being surrounded by all that positive energy gave him a peaceful and happy countenance. To my amazement, he saw me and began to move. (That always amazes me that he knows me.) I went over to lift him out of his chair and walk him into the sunshine closer to the corn hole game. Some of those folks can really toss a bean bag!
I've found it a bit easer when I visit Jerry during an upbeat activity. When it's just me, we walk and I talk. But I will admit that sometimes I'm at a loss for words..especially when there is no response. So, it's nice to have energy and input from other people around you. The activities provide stimulation and a chance to get out of the unit. The spice to their day and helps avoid each day from becoming another Ground Hog Day. Last week was a Veterans day celebration. Today..it was a tailgate party. Tomorrow night it will be a country band. Next week they'll have church on Monday and maybe a "mocktail" party or a field trip the next day.
Activity directors! Thank you for all you do!