Person-Centered Programming – Meeting Residents Where They Are
As recreation specialists, we know that it is our responsibility to provide programs that residents want and need. However, there are times when we find a resident is not suited to a particular program – they are unable to do what is is being asked (it may be because it is an unfamiliar task, or physical limitations, or cognitive challenges, or a combination of any of these).
When a resident is unable to successfully participate in an activity, instead of thinking the resident failed, our first response must be “Our program failed the resident!” So while our programs are based on what residents’ want and need, and there must be the chance to succeed!
One of the great aspects of ActivityPro is that as you score resident success, based upon predetermined expected outcomes, the resident’s average score in a program very quickly points to a program’s shortcoming – relative to the person. A low average score says “This program is not working for this person.”
When we encounter such situations, we have to reflect on the circumstances relative to the resident, and determine what we need to do to provide a successful experience for the resident.
Smaller Steps to Success
If this is an activity that is new to the resident, then breaking the activity down into smaller steps may be required. In other words, we need to modify our approach by teaching them how to do the activity.
Changing our Expectations
If the resident does not have the ability to achieve the expected outcomes, even with practice, then we have to modify the expected outcomes – to meet the resident where they are!
Finding the Right Program for Residents
If the resident still can’t realize success, then we need to look for alternate programs that are within the resident’s range of abilities.
We all have the need to succeed. For residents who can share their perceptions, success will lead them to tell you how great the program was, and if they don’t have success, they will complain or stop coming.
For those who can’t communicate a response to their experience in your program, positive outcomes often result in reduced agitation and distraction, while limited or no success accelerates behavioral responses.
Regardless of the residents’ physical and cognitive abilities, meeting them where they are can be one of our greatest challenges, but when we are successful, our absolutely greatest rewards.