The S.O.S. Programming Trend: Short, Often, Smaller!

Yes, if you work in a typical long term care (LTC) community, it is time to send out an S.O.S. announcement about the direction of your programs!

And the key message about where your programs are headed is:

  • Short – as in more programs being shorter in length
  • Often- as in offering programs more frequently
  • Smaller – as in fewer people at most programs

If you have worked in long term care for any length of time, you know that more and more residents entering your home are dealing with some level and type of dementia. This major shift in resident composition requires an equally dramatic shift in programming approaches.

What we do know about people dealing with such life changes is that environmental stimuli of the wrong type (such as too much, too long and too unfamiliar) tend to be stressful and overwhelming, and often lead to overt behavioral responses.

In most LTC homes, the majority of residents do have some level of degree of dementia (as many as 90%-95% in some areas), so the need to change our programming focus is paramount. It is incumbent that we, as professional recreationists in our care facilities, advocate on behalf of those who can’t speak for themselves.

And don’t be surprised if you hear some push-back to such programming changes. When you hear comments such as “Where have all the large group programs gone – I don’t hear all the excitement I used to!,” you know there is a need for recreation education.

This is your opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism, by speaking up at care conferences, leadership meetings and resident and family councils. Help everyone understand that being person-centered is about meeting people where they are, and S.O.S. programming is the ultimate in being person-centered in today’s LTC environment.

And don’t forget to validate your progress as you implement more S.O.S. programming. For those using ActivityPro, review your average number of participants per program offering on a year-over-year basis to validate your home’s progress in being increasingly person-centered.

ActivityPro wants to enhance your recreation department efficiencies, getting started is easy, call us today at 1-888-898-0098.

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