Overscheduled GrandmaThere seems to be a trend to overschedule grandma if she is in a senior living community. Just check into some of the big, corporate owned activity calendars offered on-line. They brag about having over X number of events a week/month. Events are scheduled all hours of the day.  There are so many events on the calendar the print must be small for it all to fit the square. (It isn’t low vision friendly.)

This is NOT a bashing of corporations. They set corporate standards so we no matter where we live we have an idea of what we can expect. Large corporations make their calendars public. Smaller companies may not. The issue could be much wider than corporations.

This is NOT a bashing of events throughout the day. Fact is people in senior living communities are just like the rest of us. Some are morning people while others are night owls. Everyone’s needs should  be met.

This IS about the people being served. Activities/events need and must reflect the interest of the people they serve. If no one in a facility is into bowling, you don’t schedule bowling. All religious offerings are NOT the same.  Labeling Catholic Mass and Monthly Eucharist by the Lutheran pastor with the same title creates confusion. (Yes, I have seen this done.)

This IS about the overall personality of a facility. Even in a rural community,  each facility seems to attract a particular set of personalities.  Facility “M” may have a large group of retired professionals while facility “V” has a large number of farmers. Expanding this to the corporate level, facilities within a corporation may serve different interest groups.

I’ll be honest – this is a very personal subject. I’m getting older. When I retire, I look forward to a little slower pace of life. If I need a senior living community, I still will want slow morning lingering over a cup of coffee and a walk through the garden. I want time to sit and talk with people. I DO NOT want people knocking on my door all hours of the day inviting me to things.

Why the overscheduled grandma?

As one of my friends states, it is marketing. When people place grandma in a senior living facility, they want to provide her everything they can. They want to see beautiful decor and nice amenities. They  DO NOT wish to leave seeing their loved one sitting around doing nothing – even if sleeping or doing “nothing” is exactly what they want or need!

Calendars are one thing. What happens is another. Just because something is on the calendar, the training and the time given to the person leading the activity is important. Let’s be honest, if there is only one staff member assigned to activities, someone else (volunteers, floor staff, other management staff) needs to assist with the group when it is needed.

And a bunch of people lined up in front of the TV, does not make it an activity.

In my next post I’ll share features I believe are needed in the events. For now, I’d like to hear from you. Do you believe they are overscheduling grandma in senior living communities? Share your comments below.

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