Willows Estate LEC underscores the value of one-to-one programming

Life enrichment team members will always make time for residents who need individualized programming, says Teddy Mazzuca

When it comes to finding meaningful programming to engage residents living with cognitive impairment, the wide variety of one-to-one activities Willows Estate offers are at the top of the list, says Teddy Mazzuca, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC).

And given the value residents find with one-to-one programming, the Aurora, Ont. long-term care home’s life enrichment team members will always find time to engage residents in these activities, she adds.

Residents affected by cognitive impairment will sometimes become agitated in group settings and will be unable to participate, Teddy says. Because residents want the social and emotional benefits that come from programming, sitting down with a staff member and completing an activity that fits their needs can make a positive difference, she adds.

“And it can be anything from a hand massage to one-to-one colouring,” Teddy tells The OMNIway. “It can be a variety of programs that are strictly one-on-one.”

A popular one-to-one programming resource for residents is the home’s “sensory bin,” which is filled with a myriad of items ranging from building blocks to board games.

A favourite activity among many residents is sorting objects, and this works well in a one-to-one setting, Teddy says.

There’s also a program called Picture Perfect which sees life enrichment team members place colourful pictures of people, animals or objects on a table and the residents will engage in discussions about the pictures.

Teddy says one-to-one programs are geared to individual strengths and, therefore, each activity can be completed successfully.

While long-term care homes are at times challenged by staff shortages, life enrichment team members always find the extra time needed to spend with those residents who need it, Teddy says.

“We have to make sure we’re providing programming for each resident, whether that’s in a group setting or one-to-one,” she says.

“There is always a little bit of time, even if it’s 20 minutes in the day, where we can stop by and see someone.”

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