Activities staff give residents more to look forward to

It’s not just bingo anymore

Our wonderful activities staff. From left to right, Lori Peters, Brandi Barrett and Janelly Ambriz.

This month, we’re celebrating the dedication and hard work of our activities staff. Nationwide, Activity Professionals Month is observed as a way to appreciate the people who plan and provide activities within senior living communities. Their work is key to helping our residents stay healthy, keep doing what they enjoy, trying new things, developing new friendships and refreshing older relationships.

According to the National Association of Activity Professionals, this is a job that emerged in health care centers about 50 years ago. The NAAP website has this to say about the group’s own history: “It was during these early years that the activity professional became known as the bingo, Bible study and birthday ladies. As the profession grew, so did the realization regarding the need for continuing education programs, conferences, workshops and seminars. The activity professional discovered quickly, there was more to activities than the three Bs.”

At Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor, the activities team is led by Activity Director Lori Peters, who has been with Presbyterian Manor since 2004. She believes that staying active and social connects all the keys to healthy aging. Just these two areas have been shown to lower the risk of heart problems, osteoporosis, some forms of cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. It also lowers the risk of depression and dementia. Lori’s passion for helping seniors is evident in her work. The relationships that she builds with residents are meaningful and long- lasting. Lori said she feels rewarded when she sees our residents enjoying life and connecting with each other.

Lori’s team includes Brandi Barrett and Janelly Ambriz. Brandi is the activity coordinator for health care, and she also has been with Presbyterian Manor since 2004. Brandi has a passion for helping our health care residents stay physically active and mentally stimulated, and bringing some excitement to their day. She hosts several activities each day.

Recently, Brandi planned a party to celebrate the Cowley Cup, the annual football game between Winfield High School and Arkansas City High School. Having lifelong residents from both towns allowed for a lot of reminiscing.

Janelly has been with our team since March 2017. She is the activity assistant for all levels of care. Janelly enjoys learning about the residents and their lives and spending time with them. Her favorite activities are when our residents get to experience something they have not seen or done before.

Residents enjoy everything from tours of the historical sites in our community to movie nights and happy hours.

One resident said the best part about living here is that they have rekindled relationships with people whom they never thought they would see again. Our events give them the opportunity to enjoy their time with old friends. Another resident appreciates the variety of activities, because it gives them something to look forward to — and an opportunity to show off their new clothes.

We appreciate everything the activities team does for our residents in keeping them happy, active and connected to their friends.