The Importance of Life Enrichment in Assisted Living Communities

Making the decision to transition to an assisted living community brings up numerous concerns for residents and their families. One of the biggest is that the life of the older person making the transition will have trouble adjusting to the lifestyle change.  Most of us wish for more minutes in the day, but in assisted living communities, free time often increases exponentially. People spend less time preparing meals, working, and taking care of a home. Thinking about filling all that newfound free time can be overwhelming.

Communities such as the Retreat at Sunny Vista are dedicated to the full wellbeing of their residents, so they strive to provide programming for all. Activities are important to the overall quality of life, but life enrichment is even more crucial. “Enrichment is defined as the action of improving or enhancing the quality or value of something,” says Pamela Cooper, life enrichment director for the Retreat at Sunny Vista. “We strive each day to accomplish that by creating opportunities for laughter, sharing, and even storytelling.”

Some of this is accomplished through regular programming, events, and outings that allow residents to pursue some of their favorite things. These include:

  • Church services and bible devotionals
  • Outings, both in-person and virtual
  • Movies
  • Bingo 
  • Happy hours and dinners
  • Group exercise, including chair Yoga
  • Aromatherapy
  • Various live musical performances

But, Cooper explains, “life enrichment is no longer just about activities; it is a way of life. It is creating meaningful programming that enhances the lives of our residents, team members, and families.” It encompasses the whole person—socially, intellectually, spiritually, and physically.

Purposeful Activity

The directive to fill the days with meaningful, enjoyable activities is great when it comes to showing prospective residents a calendar brimming with events and enrichment opportunities. But it is essential to remember that quantity does not always equal quality. Some residents regularly engage in activities on their own, an optimal thing even though it’s not reflected on public calendars.

Cooper describes such activity at The Retreat. “Purpose-driven programs, such as Baker’s Corner, give our residents the opportunity each week to make desserts for their neighborhood. They crack eggs, measure dry ingredients, dust the pan, and when all is said and done, have a yummy apple crisp to share with their community.”

The community’s amenities contribute to the ability for residents to do their own thing:

  • Warm, bright community spaces where residents can hang out independently or with others
  • State-of-the-art fitness center
  • Private dining room for families to enjoy one another’s company
  • Outdoor patios and walking paths for plenty of outdoor time
  • On-site theater room
  • Library
  • Full-service restaurant with eat-in and take-out options
  • Cozy fireplace and living room to connect with friends or relax with a book
  • Country kitchen that residents can use
  • Art and creative niches throughout the community
  • Full-service salon and spa

The activity and social calendar at The Retreat is not just about staying busy; it’s about creating purposeful days. “Our programming focuses on connecting residents to planned activities, as well as exposing them to new possibilities,” says Cooper. “From volunteering to learning, we focus on creating purposeful methods of engaging our residents.” 

Rhythms Life Enrichment

As with any community, each resident at The Retreat is entirely unique with their own qualities, personalities, and interests, and this is the foundation of our Rhythms Life Enrichment Services philosophy, and it’s based on the four cornerstones of healthy aging: social, intellectual, inspirational, and physical. Our signature programs are designed to help promote healthy aging—socially, intellectually, inspirationally, and physically.

Some of these programs include:

  • Welcoming Committee—It’s never easy to settle into a new community, which is why our Welcoming Committee exists. New residents are provided with information about the programs, activities, and routines of the community. A plant in their room and a welcome sign on their door help make them feel at home.
  • Busy Hands—This volunteer group of residents performs various tasks for staff and residents, including signing cards for the Welcoming Committee, making centerpieces for the dining room tables, and cooking snacks for fellow residents. 
  • Movement 4 Life—Keeping residents physically active and helping to reduce the risk of falls is essential. The Movement 4 Life was designed to improve the physical and mental health of all residents with an expert-designed exercise program. 
  • Music and Memories Program® The program brings together residents and staff who volunteer their time to lead classes, coordinate special holidays, and make crafts for the community. These activities are social and fun while at the same time providing a sense of purpose and meaning to life.
  • Rhythm’s Dementia—The innovative Rhythms philosophy and approach to memory care strives to educate and offer support to residents, families, and communities who are living with dementia.

The Retreat at Sunny Vista residents also can join groups such as the Horticulture Group and the Gardening Group. The groups grow herbs that are used for on-site cooking classes and maintain a garden on the community’s south patio

Residents at the Retreat take steps (sometimes literally) daily. Once you trade the work, expense, and solitude of homeownership for a growing circle of friends, an active lifestyle, and a variety of programs and events, the possibilities are endless.  Contact our team today to learn more or schedule a tour.

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