January 19-25 is National Activity Professional Week and it’s a time to recognize the work of these special people. They are a vital part of helping long-term healthcare residents live a full and rich life. We are blessed to have dedicated activity professionals that enhance the heart and spirit of our facility. We appreciate everything they do for our residents.
As people age or become ill, the ability to participate in everyday activities, hobbies or social events may diminish or become difficult. Lack of social engagement can lead to feelings of loneliness or sadness that can impact overall health. It has been proven that people who continue to participate in activities and remain socially engaged can improve their physical and social well-being.
Florence Nightingale was one of the first advocates for using activities to benefit people with health problems while caring for wounded soldiers. At the time, a doctor’s treatment was solely administering drugs or performing surgery, Nightingale advocated for more inclusive treatments, established a room for recreation and developed various recreation programs based on patients’ levels of functioning.
At Capitol Hill Healthcare, our residents enjoy a wide range of activities including games, music therapy, food events, outings and visits with community groups, young people and pets. Amaryllis Pearson, our recreation therapy director, believes that recreational activities are important for residents because they help them to freely express themselves, increase and develop social skills, improve range of motion and prevent isolation. Activities also have a number of emotional health benefits such as decreased anxiety and depression and increased feelings of self-worth and sense of belonging. Studies have shown that participation in activities also improves alertness and behavior in people who have dementia or other cognitive problems.
Activities are not only beneficial to residents, but they are also great for connecting with our Capitol Hill families. We love it when our residents’ loved ones visit us. Visitors, like loved ones and friends, are welcome to participate in activities as well and can be a great help. They can let us know what kind of activities the resident enjoyed before coming to live here and they can help a resident become more involved.
“A loved one may be withdrawn and family can encourage the resident to engage in activities,” Pearson said. “Having family around also shows a sense of support.”
To learn more about monthly activities and events at Capitol Hill Healthcare, go here.