Activity Director creating a digital calendar using resident assessments

Effective Calendars for Senior Living: Part Two

Practical strategies for success

Effective calendars take person-centered calendar goals from ideas to reality.

Effective Calendars Overcome Many Constraints

Time, space, staff, and budget present unique challenges

In our previous article, we unveiled the first step in creating vibrant, effective calendars for senior living: using the Golden Rule to ensure they are person-centered. We discovered that the Golden Rule of calendar design centers around understanding residents’ unique desires and interests and using this knowledge to shape your activity programs. You can glean a lot of this information from their resident assessments.

Now that we’ve opened the door to resident preferences, it’s time to explore the next phase. How do we translate these desires into engaging and fulfilling activities while navigating the common constraints faced by senior living communities? These constraints, namely time, space, staff, and budget, are daily challenges that activity professionals must creatively overcome. In Part 2 of our series, we’ll delve into practical strategies for addressing these limitations.

Maximizing Moments

Time Management

Time is a precious resource, often in short supply. To make the most of it, activity professionals must become masters of time management. Here are some strategies to ensure every moment counts:

  • Prioritize Wisely: Focus on activities that align with the majority of residents’ interests. Strive for a balanced mix of group and individual pursuits.
  • Efficiency Matters: Streamline planning processes using templates, pre-made resources, and technology that can significantly reduce time spent making your calendars.
  • Delegate Responsibly: Engage staff, volunteers, and even residents themselves in organizing and leading activities. Distributing responsibilities can lighten the workload and create a sense of community involvement. For residents, it gives them a sense of purpose, which is vital.
female caretaker working from desk in calendar software

Versatile Environments for All

Space Utilization

Space limitations are common, and your ability to overcome them may be dependent on what you’re able to influence in your community. However, creativity can overcome some of these challenges.

  • Multi-Purpose Rooms: Create flexible spaces as best you can that are able to easily transform for various activities, from exercise classes to art workshops. Utilize lobbies and common areas, particularly for entertainment. For larger gatherings, consider using the dining room in your community.
  • Embrace the Outdoors: Utilize gardens, courtyards, or nearby parks for gardening sessions, picnics, or outdoor exercises.
  • Community Collaboration: Forge partnerships with local businesses, libraries, or community centers to access additional spaces for events or larger gatherings. Even coffee shops can work.
caregiver and senior male gardening at a table

Become a NCCAP Certified Person-Centered Care Community™

Transform the lives of seniors in your community with help from our friends at NCCAP! Empower all employees with knowledge and skills, fostering a person-centered care culture.

Learn More About NCCAP Person-Centered Care Community™ Certification

Unlocking Team Potential

Staffing Solutions

Staffing levels vary across senior living communities, but even with a small team you can achieve great results:

  • Empower All Hands to Contribute to Activities: Find ways to train other coworkers in your community. Provide the education, tools, and resources they need to contribute to activities. If your budget allows for it, consider the Person-Centered Care Community Certification offered by NCCAP, a wonderful program that can be utilized in many ways, especially as an onboarding tool for new hires.
  • Cross-Training: Ensure your staff members are trained to handle a variety of activities, reducing the need for specialized roles, and allowing for more flexibility.
  • Welcome Volunteers: Recruit and train volunteers from the community. Their enthusiasm and diverse skills can be a valuable resource. Be sure to follow volunteer policies and procedures your community may have as well.
  • Online Resources: Explore online training materials and communities to continuously enhance your staff’s skills and knowledge.
diverse care staff and volunteers arm and arm in a line smiling

Making Every Dollar Count

Budgeting Wisely

Budget constraints are an unfortunate reality for most of us in senior living life enrichment, but with effective planning, and perhaps a bit of fancy footwork, you can make every dollar count:

  • Strategic Investments: Allocate funds to activities that align closely with resident preferences and have a high impact on their well-being.
  • Community Engagement: Consider engaging residents’ families and local businesses and schools for sponsorships, donations, or in-kind contributions to support your activities. We recognize nonprofits may not be able to solicit funds in many scenarios, so be sure to check with administration beforehand to see if you are permitted to do so.
  • Leverage Free Resources: Take advantage of free or low-cost resources, including community events, virtual tours, local talent, and partnerships that can enhance your offerings without straining your budget.
activity professional smiling at her cluttered desk

Creating person-centered calendars that align with resident desires is an admirable goal. However, the true art lies in the journey from desire to reality. By skillfully managing time, optimizing available space, leveraging staff skills, and budgeting wisely, you can bring joy, engagement, and fulfillment to the lives of your residents.

In our next installment, Part 3 of the Effective Calendars for Senior Living series, we’ll delve deeper into the world of calendar design. We’ll explore the subtle tips and tricks that can make your calendars not only engaging but also visually enticing. Stay tuned for valuable insights on creating calendars that truly enrich the lives of seniors in your care.

Create Vibrant Calendars Tailored to Residents

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