National Activities Professionals Week is celebrated January 23-27, 2023. The National Association of Activity Professionals has chosen Adventure Awaits as this year’s theme. Adventure is certainly what our life enrichment teams create for our residents!
The association states: “As an activity professional, you are part of a vitally important profession that helps people live a life that is full of fun and meaningful activities.”
In honor of National Activities Professionals Week, we’re highlighting our life enrichment team and the adventure they create at Ovation Sienna Hills, our senior living community in St. George, Utah.
I joined Ovation Sienna Hills on May 3, 2022. The highlight of my job is the residents! I love getting to know them, their personalities, their likes/dislikes, and what makes them tick. I enjoy just about every minute spent out doing activities with them.
The thing that excites me about coming to work is the environment that I work in. Our staff love their jobs and our residents, and it shows!
The only advice I can think of to share is patience with yourself, the residents, and the staff. Some days are hard and things just don’t go as planned, but tomorrow is a new day and a great time to try again.
Some of the ways we create adventure are bringing a therapy dog, called Sunny, as well as musical guests into our community weekly. We also participated in the Alzheimer’s walk in October! We take scenic drives throughout the week as well and are lucky to live in an area with lots of national parks and beautiful scenery. We are working on ways to create more adventures with our residents and are always looking for new ideas!
I joined the Ovation Sienna Hills community in February 2022 as the life enrichment assistant and became the Life Enrichment Director in May 2022.
I love enhancing the life of the residents and knowing I can make a difference in their lives. I love having the special bond I have with the residents and using my creativity to create high-end activities and experiences for our residents. I love doing what I do every day.
My advice for fellow life enrichment team members: You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do. Residents come first.
We create adventures by bringing it to them. For example, some folks like to gamble, and we brought the casino to them. We didn’t gamble with money, but the residents loved the idea and enjoyed the night.
I started Ovation March of 2021 before the independent living building was even open.
The highlight of my job as a Life Enrichment Director is making sure my residents leave my activities and events with a smile. Making sure that they are living their best lives and still having fun at their age. I love being able to fulfill their bucket list. I wake up every day ready to come to work with a smile and with the passion in my heart to get my day started and be able to see my residents and make sure that their day is filled with fun adventures. I have created a special bond with each one of my residents and that’s what makes me so happy. They are all my family away from home and I just love them. There is no other position or place I’d rather work. The smiles on their faces are what makes this job so awesome.
I would advise anyone, not just the life enrichment team, to get to know their residents on a personal level and what their likes and dislikes are, what is on their bucket list, and what can we do to make their life better while they are living in our beautiful community. If you get to know your residents, it opens the door for them to respect and trust you while taking great care of them. And the best part is it will make you feel great inside.
I will always make sure we go on wonderful fun adventures, even for the residents who cannot get out and do much. It’s important to have some fun and exciting adventure in your own community, because then you can include all the residents. There are so many wonderful things you can do to have great adventures, like turning your room into a cruise and having them have their own passport (fake ones) to enter the cruise and celebrating a great time. And for the ones who can go out and do physical adventures, going to a national park and having a wonderful picnic at a beautiful place, even go on a hot air balloon ride. Even going to an awesome show like the Polynesian Show can make someone feel like they were on an adventure at that island. They will leave the show excited and with smiles on their faces. And one of my favorite adventures was taking them fishing and watching them just relax and take the day in. Another favorite one was taking my residents to a classic car show and just seeing them reminiscing over their memories. Their faces light up with so much excitement to be able to sit in an old classic and rev the engine.
That is what being part of a life enrichment team is all about – being able to fulfill their lives with happiness and joy, just seeing those beautiful smiles is all you need. Life is full of so many wonderful adventures, and I absolutely love taking part in it with our seniors here at Ovation.
Thank you to Aron, Romina, Sherrie, and fellow life enrichment team members out there for enhancing lives of seniors each day! Happy National Activities Professionals Week!