The Benefits and Balance of Tracking Self Directed Activities

As a recreationist, you are committed to providing a wide range of programs that are relevant to your residents’ needs and interests. At the same time, many of your clients also engage in other leisure time pursuits that are not on your calendar (we call them self directed activities) – and that is fantastic.

Some residents simply do not engage in your scheduled programs, no matter how many times you invite them – they just do not want to participate. You’ve taken the time to get to know them, done some 1:1 activities, and even tried to modify existing programs to entice them to join.

Regardless of the type of recreation engagement the person is electing to pursue, your job is to “paint the picture” of how each resident is utilizing their leisure time. In other words, you are providing the opportunity for the person to engage – in many formats. So whether it is for scheduled group programs, one-on-one interactions, or self-directed leisure pursuits, part of your job is to capture and record as much of this activity as you can. Documentation that accurately reflects resident engagement ensures that family members (and inspectors!) can see that the person is still being active, engaged, and not sitting in their room all day.

Tracking self directed activities is often overlooked, or in many cases under-recorded. But think about it, you see the person read the newspaper every morning, typically for about half an hour. You know they watch The Price is Right religiously, and every afternoon they work on their puzzle, reading, or playing cards. These are important activities to document, and show that the resident is engaging in activities they enjoy.

ActivityPro has the capability to document self directed or independent activities, so you can show families and inspectors what the resident is doing beyond your scheduled programming, and prove to others on the care team that you are doing everything you can to encourage full and fulfilling levels of engagement for all your residents.

A common challenge we see amongst ActivityPro customers is when recreation staff are spending too much time documenting independent activities at the expense of programming time. When we see homes falling into this time trap, we recommend encouraging your staff to primarily focus on capturing self directed participation of people who are reluctant engagers, and not be so concerned about what independent, highly engaged residents are doing.

A little more work to capture self directed engagement? Yes. But think about it. What were staff doing before ActivityPro? If they were not documenting self directed activities at all, then anything that is captured is a “bonus.” Any amount, even a small amount, of activities that can be captured is better than none at all.

Documenting self directed activities is a great option for capturing what non-engaging residents are doing, but remember to keep a fine balance in your tracking expectations of independent activities. You do not want to fall into the trap of your recreation staff spending too much time documenting, and not enough time in the actual provision of programs.

Are you tracking self directed activities in your recreation department? ActivityPro makes tracking and reporting on independent activities quick and easy. Call us to get started today at 1-888-898-0098.

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