Resident Experience

5 Tips to Stay Flexible as an Activity Director

August 16, 2021

How do you react when things don’t go as planned? Maybe the weather ruined the outdoor social you spent weeks preparing for, or the evening’s entertainment had to cancel last-minute. Now, you need to scramble to come up with a solution or risk disappointing your residents.

Moments like these can be frustrating. But for activity directors, dealing with change is part of the daily workload. That’s why flexibility is a key skill to have when you’re working in recreation. Being flexible will help you reduce your stress levels and overcome workplace challenges so you can provide your residents with unique and engaging life experiences. Here are 5 tips that will help you become more flexible as an activity director!

  1. Embrace Continuous Learning

According to Forbes, staying interested in your industry’s latest trends is a good sign that you’re an adaptable person. People who embrace learning come across solutions to problems that they might not have otherwise considered. This prepares them to tackle the problem themselves when it arises. 

Read up on new tech, attend a free webinar, or connect with fellow recreation professionals via Facebook to learn how others are managing the challenges of working in senior living. Be open to trying out new solutions. Once you’ve seen how others are improving their processes, saving costs, and increasing efficiency, you can apply what you’ve learned to your own community!

  1. Have a Backup Plan

Being flexible has a lot to do with how prepared you are. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead for what might go wrong. Fortunately, activity directors are some of the most creative people in the industry, so they’re great at adapting programs on the fly.

Sometimes, though, you’ll need to come up with a last-minute activity, so it’s helpful to have a list of backup ideas on hand. Websites like Pinterest and Instagram have many creative activity ideas that you can save for later use. The Welbi platform has an activity database that’s also great for times when you need quick inspiration. The database can be filtered by dimension of wellness, so you can find the perfect replacement activity, fast! The platform can even make real-time recommendations using the power of AI. You can see which residents are most likely to attend a program at a certain time of day based on their habits and preferences, so you can maximize participation.

  1. Share Ideas With Your Team

Sharing your ideas with others can help you become a more creative problem-solver. Ask your team members for feedback on the activities you have planned. They might be able to point out a pitfall you haven’t prepared for or offer a better way of doing things. Everyone has a unique approach to problem-solving, so you’re sure to get some fresh ideas and perspectives.

Your team doesn’t have to be limited to other activity professionals. Maybe the kitchen staff has a great idea for a catered event, or a resident wants to try out a fitness trend you haven’t heard of yet. Being open to the ideas of others will not only help you become more flexible — it will ensure your community always has something new and exciting to offer!

  1. Digitize Your Daily Tasks

Sometimes, you have to set aside the work you had planned for the day to respond to an emerging problem. This can lead to a mounting pile of paperwork to deal with later. Digitizing your administrative tasks can give you the confidence to tackle new challenges without having to worry about all the work that’s building up in the background.

With a recreational platform like Welbi, you can eliminate up to 40% of your administrative tasks. Digitizing your processes doesn’t just save time in your busy schedule that you would have normally spent on paperwork. When you can easily take attendance, customize calendars, and fill out resident assessments from your phone or tablet, you don’t have to choose between competing priorities. Instead, you have the flexibility to respond to problems while completing other tasks on the go!

  1. Recognize Your Successes

This tip was shared with us by our Welbi Hero of the Month, Jacqueline Siemens

Jacqueline says that success as an activity professional isn’t about following your program plan to the letter. In fact, if you don’t share every little detail about how the program is supposed to run, no one will know the difference if you have to make last-minute changes. This takes the pressure of meeting expectations off so you can focus on what really matters — making sure everyone has a good time!

So don’t stress if Plan A starts to look a lot more like Plan B. As long as your residents enjoy themselves, that’s a success! Check out Jacqueline’s full interview to learn more about her perspective as an active living manager at Berwick on the Park.

We hope these 5 tips will help you stay flexible so you can overcome challenges as an activity director! Welbi is here to support you and your community on your journey to bring excellent life experiences to older adults. Subscribe to Welbi’s newsletter for more Activity Professional content or book a demo to learn more about how Welbi can save you time and streamline your administrative processes. 

Katie Stewart

Katie is a member of Welbi’s Customer Experience team! She has a background in communications and recreation and is passionate about older adults, exercise, coffee and people.

Holly Mathias

Holly is a member of Welbi’s Marketing team! She has a background in communications and marketing, and is a compassionate individual who loves team work, story telling, and wellness.

Wendy Riopelle

Wendy is a student in the Honours BA in English program at the University of Ottawa, where she has won numerous awards for her writing.

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