Ladies laughing

The recent National Activity Professionals Week (January 20-26, 2019) provided an opportunity to showcase the impact fun and socialization can have on quality of life for residents of a nursing facility or assisted living center. Great Plains Quality Innovation Network recognizes and supports the important work Activity Professionals do in providing meaningful and person-centered care every day to the people living in their centers.

Candice Nelson and Nancy Andel, activity professionals at Strand-Kjorsvig Living Center in Roslyn, SD.

Candice Nelson, Qualified Activities Coordinator (QAC) and Nancy Andel, Activity Assistant

Candice Nelson, qualified activity director at Strand-Kjorsvig Living Center in Roslyn, SD, reflects on her chosen career and the benefits of engaged staff and residents. “In order for an activity program to succeed, you need the staff from every department to be on board. Strand-Kjorsvig has a great team and every department steps up, especially if we have a special event going on and need a couple extra hands or the weather is not cooperating and some cannot make it to work.”

Social interaction and engagement between residents, volunteer staff is the focus for Nelson on a daily basis, “I love seeing the smiles and joy on the resident’s faces when they win a prize at a game or bingo. I also enjoy listening to their stories about their lives when we are doing arts and crafts, reminiscing over coffee and snacks or just visiting. Seeing their faces glow as they talk about growing up, dating years, weddings and children, I could sit and listen all day.”

In addition to the current collection of games, cards and jigsaw puzzles, staff and volunteers will soon have access to digital music devices to engage residents throughout the day. Strand-Kjorsvig is one of 55 nursing facilities across South Dakota implementing Music & Memory, a national program to help people in nursing homes and other care organizations who suffer from a wide range of cognitive and physical challenges to find renewed meaning and connection in their lives through the gift of personalized music.

Nelson described the process, “All staff will be working to integrate Music & Memory Program into the facility. Once training is completed by all staff, we will have a great team that will be ready to hit the ground running. Then, at any time of the day, when a resident is in need of their music pod, any one of our team members will be able to assist them!”

The personalized playlist created with the help of family members and caregivers, coupled with the existing activities, will impact the lives of residents, family members, volunteers and staff.  Nelson added, “We are all in this together and for the residents of our facility, and our team is eager to see the positive effects when residents listen to music with meaning just for them.”