A well-rounded activities calendar is the key to success in an independent living retirement community. When I think about having a program that is "well-rounded," I think about having something for everyone. Now, I know after 25 years in the field that I will not have everyone participate, nor enjoy everything that they are involved with, but I make every effort possible.
I am lucky enough to have the best of both worlds. I am a one person department and yet I have co-workers to share the workload. My company owns two other communities within a 10 minute drive of one another. Each community has an activities department and we share a common transportation department. Because of the buses and because of the needs to have escorted outings, we have learned to pull our resources together and create a well-rounded program for all three communities. It is a win-win situation for us and for the residents who we serve. Don't get me wrong.... it is not the same calendar at all three communities as we add our own special programs.
What we have done that works well for us is that we get together quarterly and divided the work up. There are standards that we have from our corporate office, and then we have added our own, based upon the resident's requests in our communities. We rotate who does what kind of outing so that one person does not go on all the yummy lunch outings and another person get stuck with going to the waste management plant tour - again. If I had to be the escort on every trip that was on my calendar, I would never get the next month planned. Here is a copy of the activities chart that we use to organize our schedules.
We have found that it is a great help to work as a team so that we are not requesting the bus on conflicting dates, so that we meet the minimum numbers required for a group and have to cancel fewer trips, that we get to know more residents better and we can all offer more on our calendars than if were to work alone. The residents have also enjoyed getting to know other residents on these outings and we've seen how new friendships develop.
You may not have the same situation as I do, but you might have other co-workers in your department that you maybe able to have utilize this concept. If that is not the case, that is fine too! The activities chart is a great tool to help you keep focused. After all, if you are the department head, it really is all up to you anyway, right? Feel free to change the headings at the top of the document to be what works best in your community. I find the chart helpful to use so that I can see at a quick glance a certain category instead of having to look through my entire past calendar to see when I did something last, etc.
If you have a system that works well for you and your department, we would love to have you share it below in the comments section of this page. Thanks!