Re-Evaluating Life Enrichment: Becoming Visionaries

Life Enrichment teams live in the in-between. They are not medical care providers, nor do they fall under “skilled care.” They are not family, yet frequently are seen as such. Though it is a universal trial to keep our care communities and organizations staffed and staffed well, it is especially difficult for the LE teams as they are overlooked, undervalued, and seen as part of a machine to make the community look vibrant. Training and support dwindle, so how can we transform the way to view our Life Enrichment Specialists so that they truly become a key part of care, offering programs and companionship that increases creativity and decreases loneliness, increases well being and decreases falling, isolation, need for medication, and depression. If we become visionaries, we can change how we approach care, connection, and community.

Life Enrichment needs a transformation, one that is not based solely on budget and census information, but on willing the good of the other. It takes more imagination and creativity than the need for medications, extra staffing, and added stress on the individuals and their community, but does it really? If we first become relational with the individual, we will learn who they are, who they were, and what they will become, not just what they did for a living, their medical history, and if the family lives in town. We will learn what brings them joy, what fears they carry with them, and what they view as their needs, what they are seeking. When we throw cookie cutter programs out, we cannot expect to excel beyond cookie-cutter results and the crumbles left behind.

Life Enrichment innovation seems like a daunting task, and the imagination and creativity, when guided becomes simple. Life Enrichment teams are the heartbeat of your staff. They are the soul of the community. And, they can make or break an individual’s experience living and visiting that particular location. What will you do today to become a Life Enrichment Visionary? What small step will you take this month to transform your community through Life Enrichment?

Published by Kathryne Fassbender

Creative Gerontologist, Speaker, Catholic Innovator. I am also the granddaughter of someone who lived with Vascular Dementia.

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