By Steve Moran

A better title would be “A Key to Getting Life Enrichment Right,” maybe. On the other hand, this may ultimately be the key that unlocks what it takes to get it right.

People are drawn to … rote activity …. We found empirically in our studies that it makes people happy. We are happiest when we use our attention for easy, engaging activity that is not challenging and stressful.”

Attention Span, by Gloria Mark

The Grand Life Enrichment Conundrum

Life enrichment is the one thing that senior living communities do that simply can’t happen at home. And yet:

  • Life enrichment directors are at the bottom run of the leadership team in every senior living community.
  • When budgets need tightening, corporate life enrichment folks are some of the first to be let go.
  • When those of us in the industry look at life enrichment activities, we are not impressed.
  • We all think it could and should be better.
  • No one seems to really know what better means.
  • We are convinced of one thing: that boomers (we boomers) will hate what is currently being offered.

Guiding Principle 

While this is not a specific activity, program, or system, perhaps every activity could be tested against the standard of …

  • Does it capture the resident’s attention?
  • Does it actually engage the resident?
  • Is it not too stressful?
  • Is it easy enough? (But if too easy it will not engage.)

This could be the guiding light, the North Star by which every activity should be judged. How would bingo stack up? Outings, trivia, current events?

I would love to hear your thoughts.