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Enriching Seniors Through Community Engagement

BY SOLANA SLOAT

One of the greatest privileges we have at Heritage Senior Care Inc. working one on one with our clients in their own home. Whether it’s preparing a healthy and nutritious meal or providing personal care services such as a pedicure for a client with diabetes; our caregivers work to best understand and offer the highest quality care to our clients. Here are ways we optimize the care by offering a holistic approach that celebrates the spirit of the senior individual.

Scenario #1. I went to visit a client who was nearing the end of life, I remember our client’s wife remarked to me that she would love to hire someone to come sing for her husband. She asked does anyone come in people’s homes and perform?

Possible Solutions: Hospice offers a variety of therapies that are included in the spectrum of care. One such example is Music Therapy. Hospice is covered by Medicare or Medical (in California) and is a determination of health made by the senior’s primary physician. In the example of a client nearing the end of life, if a Hospice entity is involved, please ask about scheduling a Music Therapy session – many Hospice Agencies including Elizabeth Hospice and Vitas offer this therapy to clients in their home. For those who are not currently in Hospice, there is also the option to commission a local performer and/or Music Therapist who works with seniors in their home. There are credible references for musicians who offer private session, we suggest speaking to the Activities Director at your local nursing home, since they regularly book performers in the style of music seniors prefer.

Community engagment for seniors
Event at Woodland Park Elementary.
Photo courtesy of San Marcos Community Intergenerational Garden

Intergenerational Offerings: There is nothing more profound than the emotional impact that children have on a senior. A child’s infectious laughter brightens the day as they are open and willing to learn. Both parties, young and old benefit from this spirited relationship.

Scenario #2. Imagine if you were a retired First Grade Teacher, you enjoyed the time you spent educating children and reflect on this time as the most rewarding period of your life. How could I as a spouse, family member or friend reconnect with children once again?

AARP launched a new program called Experience Corps, this rewarding program offers seniors 50+ the opportunity to tutor children who are struggling to read at their grade level. The need for increased literacy for our exists and in today’s world of two working parents. This time spent between a senior and child is very beneficial as they are creating an opportunity for these children to learn how to read. The Experience Corps program is currently being piloted, and limited to San Diego, so another option is to become a volunteer at a local Elementary School or Middle School. As a volunteer in a teacher’s classroom there are many opportunities to engage with children and a focused reading group would be surely appreciated the teacher.

Spotlighting Intergenerational Activities at the San Marcos Senior Center: The San Marcos Senior Center has opportunities throughout each month to visit with a local Elementary School that comes in to participate in arts and crafts with the seniors. Also, if you or your loved one is nuts about BINGO, there is an Intergenerational Bingo offered on the fourth Tuesday of the Month at 5:00-6:00PM for a small fee of $1. Finally, the City of San Marcos Community/ Intergenerational Garden links seniors with children who have special needs from Woodland Park Middle School. This is a fun experience for all parties involved and is a great opportunity to encourage and mentor this population of children. The San Marcos Community Garden has many Intergenerational Events throughout the year for more information regarding the San Marcos Community and Intergenerational Garden please contact Catherine Manis at (760) 744-9000 extension 3606.

PDF of February Newsletter

solana sload, heritage senior care

SOLANA SLOAT is a Business Development Representative at Care Manager for Heritage Senior Care Inc. Sloat holds a B.A. in Human Development with an emphasis in Gerontology from California State University, San Marcos.

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