One of the unique privileges we have at The Pavilion Senior Living is working with people that experience full, rich lives. We may ask ourselves "why was it fulfilling?" Where did the senior in my life once find their purpose? By addressing those questions, we can understand how we can help seniors keep passions alive.
How do you help the resident that discovered their true purpose in serving their community? How do you support the resident that found purpose in teaching? By exploring each individual’s passions, we are given the gift of doing something transformative with our life enrichment here at The Pavilion Senior Living, with communities located in Tennessee and West Virginia.
Customized Life Experience
When creating a purposeful life experience for our residents, it is essential to delve into the interests of the residents we serve. For example, one of our resident’s was passionate about knitting, so we were able to form a group of friends that wanted to join her in that passion. They called it “Knitters and Knit-wits.” The group formed and found a project they were passionate about…knitting baby bonnets to deliver to their local NICU, providing bonnets to premature babies. Ultimately, through their shared passion, these seniors were able to find purpose in their every day lives.
There are four crucial elements in our methodology:
- Defining purpose
- Facilitating purpose
- Evoking natural emotional expressions
- Fostering intergenerational connectivity
Making Purposeful Aging a Reality
Together, we are working with our staff to instill the idea that fostering an environment through purposeful aging starts within our teams. Those who work with residents each day will be the catalyst for this culture change. We are not just completing a series of tasks each day – we are making each moment purposeful. We are retraining our team to focus on the desires of our residents. Focusing on the people who will create these experiences is essential in having purposeful outcomes.
The Pavilion is enthusiastic in making these methodology changes as quickly as possible. Having our entire team on board is crucial to success, and for that reason, the entirety of the staff is involved in understanding purposeful aging. We want to foster an environment in which everyone is focused on the needs of our residents, not just life enrichment staff. Every transaction, event, and conversation should have a purposeful objective. Interactions between staff and residents often revert to checklists, and instead, we are making sure that everything we are doing becomes part of an overall goal.
Once the wants and desires of a resident have been determined, it is our job to make sure that happens – we support whatever they want to do, wherever they want to go. It is easier for independent, active adults to pursue their hobbies and interests, but how do we help a resident find purpose when they are spending most of their time inside our community? We work to find out what our residents find fulfilling and make it happen.
For the teacher with a passion for words, we found her excitement through her expressed enthusiasm of word search puzzles. We helped her access those puzzles, and even if she did the puzzle over and over again, she found fulfillment.
A radiologist, who spent most of his time in bed, found purpose after we brought in x-ray samples in a photo album. He took that album and spent his free time looking at old x-rays.
Residents who used to be doctors have walked around with our nurses doing “rounds.” While confidentiality codes were maintained, those people were given the ability to feel essential.
When working with a family to find purpose in their loved one’s life, we must think creatively and evaluate each person individually.
When it comes to residents’ apartments, we have the opportunity to make their experience as customized as possible. Our staff at The Pavilion finds out what their desires are, and make them a reality. Is it music? Let’s get them a radio. Are they challenged by technology? Let’s find them an iPad. Is it cards? We can do that. We want to know our residents and be aware of what gives them purpose and fulfillment.
Food is another way we can create an individualized experience. The culinary experience should be tailored to each resident’s needs and wants. If a resident is rarely finishing her meal, let’s have a conversation on how we can make it better. If someone wants to eat his or her lunch at 11:00 am rather than noon, simply because they want to attend a specific outing, that can be accommodated. If we all work together toward a common goal, helping our residents live a purposeful life, then it will be achieved more easily.
Emotional support is another area in which we have the opportunity to make the resident feel valued. If our staff is engaging in personal relationships with every one of our residents, then it is easy for us to note changes in mood or behavior, which could reveal a more significant problem. Those personal relationships are essential in Pavilion communities because it allows our staff to be aware of changes that are occurring in every domain or our residents’ lives.
Lastly, keeping the family involved is vital. We create events in which family and friends can visit their loved one and encourage them to stay in touch. Isolation is one of the main reasons for the emotional, mental, and physical decline. The longer we can keep families involved, the more successful our residents will be.
Fostering an Environment of Purposeful Aging in Your Life
A representative from our marketing partner Markentum, Amber, was so inspired by the Pavilion vision, that she implemented the idea of purposeful aging into her own life as well. Her 88-year-old grandfather, who was very active, lost his wife of over 65-years a little over a year ago, and she had begun to witness a decline in his mood, activity, and changes in his social interaction. His birthday was fast approaching, and Amber had no idea what she could get for him. Remembering her conversation with Van Cluck, President of L4 Lifestyles, our management team, about the concept of providing purpose, she began to think about ways she could gift her grandfather something to lift his spirits. Amber remembered how her grandfather used to spend hours crafting and painting gifts for others, and she decided to purchase him the gift of an art set. Not only did she provide him the supplies, but she also provided him with something to paint that she wanted to display in her own home. When presenting him with the gift, Amber advised her grandfather that she loved his beautiful work and would love it if he would paint something for her. This gift would not only provide entertainment to her grandfather, but it would provide him with a purpose to share his artwork with others.
The people that age the best are those who have found purpose in life. We invite you to experience The Pavilion Senior Living difference for yourself. Contact us to schedule a visit or to ask any questions you might have about our environment for purposeful aging.