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Simple Social Suggestion

Ralph Waldo Emerson said "It is not length of life,
but depth of life."
As activities directors for independent living senior adults, this is a quote that I feel could be painted on our office walls! It reminds us of the importance of having a meaningful program for our residents. It would also serve the residents well to see this quote to remind them to live each day to its fullest and with meaning!

I have shared some ideas with you on this blog that are fun, but this time, I want to speak about something that may or may not be considered an "activity" that you can list on your calendar. It may even fall under the culinary department in your community, instead of the activities department, but I'm still going to share it with you because I've seen the success of it at my community. It is simply a time and a place in your community where coffee is available to residents and their guests to have for free. And yes, you as the activities director can and should suggest it!

I can hear some of you already saying this has nothing to do with me, but please take a minute to finish reading this. I promise it won't be long. Part of our job involves the resident's social happiness... and this does meet that need. I can also hear you say that with the budget cuts, that this is out of the question. There is no harm in asking though, is there? And then there are a few of you who think that residents will abuse this free service or that your culinary department will not be able to manage it well. And yes, there will be days when those will be correct thoughts. But overall, it does work. Oh, and the marketing department loves this idea! Now there are people in the lobby when prospective residents come to see our community..... and they can offer them a cup of coffee too.

My community set up a coffee area outside our administration office that serves coffee from 10:00 a.m until 2:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. (Sunday we serve breakfast and then dinner at noon so they have plenty of opportunities for coffee in the same time frame as the other days.) We've made sure there are plenty of seats for those interested in staying for a chat, and the area is usually very busy. Residents are encouraged to bring their own mugs if they want to, but it is not necessary.  Refills are requested when coffee runs low and the culinary department brings it ASAP. Sometimes this is quickly and sometimes there is a wait, but like I said, there are usually people to talk to, so the wait is not that bad.

We have residents who started bring cookies, donughts, etc. to add to the coffee area. We make sure to make a sign that gives credit to the resident for their donation. It makes them feel good for the recognition and others are able to thank them. It also lets the residents know that this is not from our kitchen, in case it is not good, etc.  We haven't had that as an issue before, but just in case. It has even got some residents started on a baking routine that is just amazing! 

I've made this longer than I thought it would be - I'm sorry, but I got excited. Take a look at your community. Where would be a good place for you to initiate this? It might be in your library, like a Barnes and Nobles. Maybe it's in your foyer like the hotels do, or in your dining room that is only used in the evenings? Remember, this is the resident's home and you will be able to find the place that will work for them to sit with their friends, the ones they know and the ones they've yet to meet and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. It truly is simple and yet adds another level to the depth of the days the resident will spend in their community.

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