As caregivers you play a very important role in terms of assisting residents gain access to support systems outside of the assisted living facility. A “Support System” refers to services received from other service systems, such as substance abuse services and mental health programs. Sometimes caregivers may also be required to help their residents get to and from these programs. Outside of taking part in community-based programs that offer formal services, residents can be engaged in the community in many other ways. Some examples include:
•Going to a church
•Attending a senior center
•Visiting a park or museum
•Visiting a beauty salon or barber shop
•Joining a club of their interest
•Volunteering time at a school
In addition, sometimes community groups will come into the care home to provide activities and to help connect residents with the local community. Remember, as a caregiver it’s important that you share information about local recreational opportunities with your residents. Likewise, you should make sure that you help your residents to get ready for any community activities that they might participate in. This might mean assisting them with a few ADLs (activities of daily living) such as getting bathed and/or dressed.
Lastly, remember that any activity a resident participates in should be consistent with their care plan, or service plan as they are sometimes referred to. Finally, also remember that as a caregiver or manager of an assisted living facility a big part of your job is to improve the quality of life of your residents. Encouraging your residents to take part in their community not only fills this role you play, but it also puts your residents in a position where they have an opportunity to truly see that they are important in the lives of others; and that they can and do contribute to society even in their twilight years.