Have you ever stopped to count how many activities are going on during any given day at Salina Presbyterian Manor? Cathy Boos has.
Cathy, our life enrichment director, has done the math. She found that we offer an average of 14 activities a day.
“I see activities as the heart and soul of Salina Presbyterian Manor,” Cathy said. “I really try to keep the residents out and about within the community and our surroundings, and doing things they’ve never been able to do or always wanted to.”
This month, we’re showing our appreciation for Cathy and the entire life enrichment team in recognition of Activity Professionals Month. Over the last 50 years, activity professionals have become vital to long-term care and senior living communities, helping to shape the social, physical, emotional and spiritual life of many residents.
Cathy’s team includes Cierra Haith and Emily Riddle in health care, along with Restorative Aide Jodi Gawith; Nicole Jacoby in memory care and assisted living; and Pat Piper in memory care. Cathy takes care of planning for independent living. They are all CNAs, too. “My team is so dedicated to making people happy that it’s energizing just to be in our office,” she said. “Going the extra mile to help a resident is the norm.”
When new residents move in, the life enrichment team does an assessment of their jobs, hobbies and other interests, such as favorite teams and books. They also like to ask about things residents always have wanted to do, but never have.
Over the last few years our residents have burned up the miles getting around Salina — and the rest of the state. If there’s a new restaurant open, they’re among the first to try it. Groups have ventured to the salt mines in Hutchinson, the state capitol in Topeka, the Oz museum in Wamego and a number of casinos. “I think we’ve been to every museum within 200 miles,” Cathy said. Memorably, they took the Presbyterian Manor’s new van to a Royals baseball game last year, toting a sign that said “Retirement Home Escapees.” That got them on the Jumbotron.
It’s especially fun to offer activities or experiences that are new for some residents. At Christmas, Cathy had a special meal for independent living residents at the country club. When they came out, she had a limo waiting to take them on a tour of Christmas lights. Recently, a new resident from Western Kansas joined them on a recurring favorite activity: dinner at Martinelli’s and a movie. “She had never eaten crème brulee,” Cathy said. “Everyone was ordering it, and she just loved it.”
Even when they stick close to home, there’s always something to do, from games and gardening to cooking. Exercise classes are open to residents at all levels of care, and Cathy said they try to integrate residents from independent, assisted living and health care whenever possible. They also have started bringing memory care residents to health care activities, if they want to come. “Alot of people are scared to cross that line (to health care), so it’s a barrier breaker to see what it’s like ‘over there,’” Cathy said. “And it brings more health care individuals out.”
Most residents know about the activities sign-up book that Cathy keeps near the mailboxes. Most of the day trips fill up, she said, so people have learned to check the book daily. “It’s a scramble to see who finds out things first,” Cathy said. “They have something to look forward to every day of the week.”