Living an active and engaged life is important at every age. For older adults in a senior living community, life enrichment programs and activities provide a sense of meaning, satisfaction, and of course, fun.
We recently spoke with Kathy Klein, Life Enrichment Manager at Bethany Village, about the many ways that activities and programs improve quality of life for older adults. Kathy has been a staple at Bethany Village since 2010 when she started as a part-time activity assistant in the memory support center. Since then, she has become a certified activity director and certified dementia practitioner. She recently completed the LeadingAge Ohio Leadership Academy program, a seven-month leadership program designed to develop strong, effective leaders in aging services. Now, as Life Enrichment Manager, Kathy oversees the development and coordination of programming for residents across all levels of care at Bethany Village.
What is life enrichment?
At its core, life enrichment is all about developing and coordinating meaningful activities and programs for residents in senior living communities. A comprehensive life enrichment program touches on all five components of wellness: emotional, spiritual, physical, social and educational. The goal of life enrichment is to help residents get involved in daily activities that they enjoy and stay connected to their communities, says Kathy.
Why are life enrichment activities so important for older adults?
As we get older, we don’t lose the need or desire for activities to be involved in, said Kathy. “We’re lucky to have a population at Bethany Village that has always been vibrant, social and active within their communities. We give them opportunities to continue staying social and have fun once they move in,” she said.
“Everyone needs interaction and a purpose. We want to help residents feel like they are a part of something and encourage them to be mentally, physically, intellectually, and socially active every day,” she added.
How are the activities offered at Bethany Village shaped around residents’ interests?
“At Bethany Village, we have a person-centered approach to our activities and programs,” said Kathy. “We meet with residents on a regular basis to go over what they liked on previous calendars and what they would like to do next.”
Resident involvement goes even further in independent living, said Kathy. “We have a group that meets to gather information on things like local restaurants to try or community events to attend. I’d say that the majority of what’s on our activities calendar each month has been asked for or requested by residents.”
She added, “I always say, ‘This is not my home, this is your home. I’m not here to do what I think you want to do, I’m here to do what you want to do.’”
In continuing our conversation with Kathy, we discuss some of the most popular activities and programs offered for residents, as well as what makes life enrichment unique at Bethany Village. Be sure to check back next week for part two of our series on life enrichment at Bethany Village.
To learn more about Bethany Village and arrange a tour of our campus, please contact us today. We’d be delighted to speak with you!