Inside this issue:
“Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower” Albert Camus
I don’t care what New England says! The fall season in Virginia is the best. From Tidewater to the Shenandoah, the colors of the changing trees bring excitement and thoughts about the future. Change; it’s exciting but it is also filled with expectation.
As Activity Professionals the same is true of our work. Each of us work with different populations and change is a constant part of our jobs. We may see changes in our residents that have us looking to future modifications we have to make when it comes to their activities programs. However, because of our training, compassion and creativity we know how to navigate that change.
Like the vibrant autumn leaves, whose beauty is short lived, our residents, patrons or participants also burst with color before they change again. Reaching their souls and engaging their spirit during that short window is crucial. When the body or brain changes in a way that impacts their independence, their spirit stays strong because someone like you, the Activities Professional, planned for their future with life enriching programs.
Providing new experiences and giving residents an opportunity to try something they always wanted to is paramount for the activity professional. Virtual reality is one way to accomplish this.
Virtual reality offers individuals to explore in a virtual environment with the help of technology. While Virtual reality (VR) is more often associated with a younger group of people, there are a few organizations conducting ongoing research and development into how this medium can benefit older adults.
MyndVR focuses specifically on developing VR programs for the older adult population. Their programs include world travel, brain exercises and mental wellbeing. In addition to developing VR programs for seniors, MyndVR offers caregiving classes. If you are concerned about the effects on virtual reality with your residents, Dementia By Day LLC has reviewed this product in relation to people living with dementia.
There still exists a narrative in the world that computers and older adults don’t mix which is not accurate at all.
Rendever, another VR reality developer, is helping to bust that myth. Their mission is exactly the same as ours – to help older adults overcome loneliness and social isolation with the assistance of virtual reality. In addition to providing virtual travel experiences, this company invites families to contribute as a way to engage and reminisce with their loved ones.
The research on the benefits and downfalls of VR on older adults is scarce. But the research that is out there, does touch on both. For example, the barriers older adults may experience with real world activities such as skydiving are eliminated when it is done virtually. One of the downfalls of virtual reality is how it might impact someone living with dementia, in terms of how their orientation to time and place present. The activity professional, as they always do, will review the platform and know who it is appropriate for and who it isn’t.
BEST PRACTICES REVIEW
The Activity Assessment
Documenting is a full time job unto itself. Do a haphazard job and it’ll cost you (and your community). Do an extremely thorough job and the quality of the programming and engagement activities will suffer. How do activity professionals find the right balance between the two?
The folks at Golden Carers have some suggestions.
- Document at the beginning and end of the day. Set aside 15 minutes to get through the documentation tasks for the day.
- Show up to care plan meetings early to get a start on your documentation.
Check out some digital documentation programs if they aren’t already being used in your community.
VAAP MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL REMINDER VAAP Membership year now runs January 1 – December 31st of each calendar year. Be sure to complete the renewal form (see link below) for your 2023 VAAP Membership renewal and send it to the VAAP Treasurer to keep your membership in good standing! https://vaaponline.org/membership-form/ .
VAAP Appreciates YOU
This bears repeating…You are creative, resilient, strong, vivacious, stupendous, extraordinary, exceptional, remarkable, astounding and overall AMAZING! VAAP thanks you for all you do for your residents. The ingenious manner in which you are adapting your programs is second to none. Keep sharing your successes and your creative thoughts and programs with VAAP as we are all in this together and will keep each other #ActivitiesStrong!