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Thanksgiving Gratitude

An Activities Director’s Thanksgiving Gratitude

Thanksgiving is in the air! A time to give thanks and show your gratitude. Melody Beattie, Author of  Codependent No More said

 "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."

As an activities director of 27 years, and the author of the Recharging Retirees blog for 3 years, I have so much to be thankful for. For those who have been in the field as long as I have, you know that there are good times and bad times - as there is with any profession. The quote from Melody Beattie speaks of unlocking the fullness of life. At first I thought that my profession allows me to do that for the residents…. Make their life fuller and to make their house more of a home. But then, I realized that it is my job that has allowed me to live a fuller life. Below are a few things that I am grateful for this Thanksgiving when it comes to my job as Activities Director.

  • This job is not a 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. kind of job. I appreciate those around me for understanding that I have to work on weekends, holidays, nights and for the Super Bowl.
  • A good company to work for
  • A great community of resident volunteers who create opportunities for others to enjoy
  • A network of local activity directors to borrow ideas and supplies from, and to share the work load at times with
  • The adventures, educational opportunities,and leisure experiences that I've been exposed to
  • The relationships that I've had with the residents and the lessons they've shared with me
  • The ability to find inspiration on-line. (On my blog there is a survey that asks where you get your inspiration from. The results are that most people find them on the Internet!) 
Here are a few websites, in no particular order, for which I am thankful for. I encourage you to click the links below and see what they are about. Each one has more to it than I could mention in the write-ups below. I hope they inspire you as they have at times when I needed it most!
  • The Activity Director's Office is a complete resource for Activity Directors. It has the best pages for monthly ideas I've seen on-line. Here is an example of their November information which features dates to celebrate, famous birthdays and more. It has been online for 10 years now!
  • Activity Directors Network includes links to many creative and supportive websites and offers a FREE monthly newsletter once you subscribe (no cost). There is also a chat forum  and Twitter page so you can connect with others who are experiencing the same issues you may be. And, if none of that gets you going at your current job, you can find a different job in the field at their job page.
  • Not Just Bingo is especially helpful for new activity professionals working with assisted living or nursing home/health center residents. There is a fee to become a member, but you can access a wealth of information as a non-member for free. 
  • Pinterest!! Check out Ideas for directors at retirement communities or find specific ideas about a theme party you have in mind... or might not have in mind yet. Plus soooo many more are on Pinterest! Just type in a keyword into the search box and see what others have to offer.
  • Easy Party Ideas and Games The link is for adult games, but you will see many different topics, such as holidays, decorations, etc. on this site also.
  • And of course, you can always Google for inspiration!
Being an Activities Director is something I am thankful for every day. Some would say it was my calling. As the holidays begin and the craziness of this awesome job elevates to another level, I encourage you to use the support resources offered above so that you can ride out the rough days.  I assume you care about your job, and the residents you serve. You want to be the best that you can be, that is why you are here reading this now! For that too, I am thankful.

"Do not get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time."  Galatians 6:9

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