Help residents “Connect, Create, Contribute” during Older Americans Month

Did you know that the projected population of people age 65 or older will be 98.2 million by 2060? That means nearly one in four Americans will be a senior citizen. Across the nation, this rapidly growing population is taking part in activities that promote wellness and social connection. Whether they live independently or in a long-term care community, older Americans are an important part of our society and enrich our lives.
Older Americans Month (OAM), celebrated each May, offers an opportunity to hear from, support and celebrate our nation’s elders. Led by the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging, OAM has recognized older people and their contributions to our communities for 56 years. This year’s theme, “Connect, Create, Contribute,” encourages older adults and their communities to:

  • Connect with friends, family and local services and resources.
  • Create through activities that promote learning, health and personal enrichment.
  • Contribute time, talent, and life experience to benefit others.

Most people over the age of 65 will be in long-term care at some point during their lives, but that does not diminish their ability to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others in their community. During this Older Americans Month, facilities across the nation will focus on how to help the older members of their communities connect, create and contribute. A vibrant activities program can assist residents in connecting with others, participating in meaningful activities and having an outlet to contribute their talents. Resident activities are vital to providing opportunities for social engagement and connection. A 2013-2014 study of long-term care facilities proved that residents who have social contact with other residents, staff and visitors increase their ability to thrive in their environments. Participation in social activities enriched the residents’ physical and emotional well-being, giving them a sense of purpose and reducing psychological distress.

Whether it’s a crafting project activity or hosting an education program, it’s important to provide older residents with ways to continue to learn and create. Studies have proven that creative activities such as art therapy enhance residents’ moods, increase self-esteem and self-confidence as well as reduce anxiety. Facilities can help their residents contribute to their community with a number of different activities such as encouraging participation in civic and social organizations. One of the most common ways residents’ contributions can have an impact is through engagement with the resident council. Such groups help residents have a voice about issues that concern them and participate in making changes in their community.

The Compliance Store has a go-to resource for facilities to build and maintain a meaningful activities program for their residents. From creative project ideas and care planning to guidance about compliance and responding to resident council grievances, The Compliance Store’s Binder Basics for Activities Professionals can support facilities in nurturing the overall well-being of their residents. To learn more, go to: www.TheComplianceStore.com

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