By Steve Moran

I recently received this email from a reader who spent 18 years as an activity director and is now viewing her job from the residents’ perspective.

After 18 years working in activities I’m seeing the director position from the resident side during a trip to Florida.

My report from one month at 55 plus independent community!

  • Every care community should have a clubhouse!! A place where crafters have tables and supplies, from scrapbooking to quilting boards. Tables for cars players! Puzzle boards. Pooltables. Coffee free brewing all day!
  • There should be under-the-patio exercise (remember, Florida) classes, ladder ball, street golf, cornhole.
  • Open 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., residents come and go as they please and stay as little or long as they please!
  • This all creates opportunities to meet people with shared interests and join any group to learn a new hobby!
  • This is what retirement should look like.

I wonder …

  • Why do our activities calendars change the offering every hour?
  • Why can’t we let residents spend two hours crocheting and chatting with friends?
  • Why can’t men have coffee, play pool with no one saying, “Put that away; it’s time for trivia,” and then …
  • … “Now pack up trivia cards; it’s sing-along for the next hour.” …

To have a clubhouse is to create something that is homelike! … Do what you want, when you want, with friends with similar interests!

The Role of the Activity Director

There is an activity director who makes a calendar, but it is a general list of when people have agreed to lead cards or exercise.

They also provide supplies, from yarn to circuit machines, and she schedules big events, such as live music, potluck suppers, football socials, etc.

This leader also plans outings to theaters and teaches craft classes or brings in teachers.

The community I am experiencing is always busy! Ages 70–90, most 70–80, and me and a handful of 60-somethings are the youngsters!

This is clearly the life boomers want. The big question is this:

How can we provide this lifestyle but add in the medical part as needed?!

That is the 21st century challenge!


The email has been lightly edited, mostly for clarity.