We believe in celebrating everything at Walker Methodist; that includes the lives and talents of the countless staff, volunteers, and residents who strive to make life better for our communities. This week especially, we’re celebrating National Association of Activity Professionals (NAAP) Week, January 18th – 23rd.
National Association of Activity Professionals
NAAP is a national organization that represents activity professionals working primarily in senior settings. The primary focus of the organization is education, outreach, and advocacy. The roots can be traced back several hundred years, to even the Greek and Roman empires. It’s fascinating how humanity has always gravitated towards taking care of its own. In a more purposeful manner, with the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, it was apparent there was a need for meaningful activities to fulfill seniors’ days if they came to live in skilled nursing homes or senior communities. NAAP’s history states, “It was during these early years that the activity professional became known as the bingo, Bible study, and birthday ladies.”
As years passed, the activity leaders continued their quest for professionalism, and NAAP was formed in 1981 to represent the needs of all activity professionals employed in long-term care settings. Quality of life is something we all seek and are entitled to at every age and stage of life. Our Residents come to our communities with personal history, talents, needs, and visions of their futures. Our activity and life enrichment teams make sure quality of life is the highest priority.We are so much more than bingo now!
The Role of the Activity Professional
At Walker Mthodist, our Mission is Life. And all the living that goes with it. Enhancing the lives of older adults through a culture of care, respect, and service. The basic role and principle for activity professionals at Walker Methodist is to maintain the Mission through opportunities for person-centered approaches that promote healthy aging. We strive to enhance the well being of seniors at every physical and cognitive level, and our life enrichment programs attest to that. The skilled and trained activity professionals research, plan, develop, and deliver quality recreational and life-enriching programs across all our communities. These programs aren’t in place just as a way to pass time or to appease the family of loved ones who live at Walker Methodist. There is a purpose and intent behind every activity.
It’s similiar to children in school or employees who are part of unique work place culture in the workforce. The basic need is the same – to laugh, to connect, to have fun, to collaborate, learn, explore, compete, nurture, adapt, and so on. People need people to impact their lives and to share that connection. Activities are a powerful, natural way to accomplish that.
Walker Methodist’s Life Enrichment
Walker Methodist is proud to offer an extensive calendar of life enrichment programs at our communities. Our activity professionals continually research and develop activities and programs that benefit Residents in countless ways. Our programming goes beyond board games and movies. We offer spiritual life, art, group excursions to galleries, performing art centers, shopping malls, wineries, elementary schools, dining destinations, and a wide array of physical activities. On any given day, our activity and life enrichment professionals oversee 10 or more activities within a community.
These amenities are an enormous blessing to our Residents. Research shows there are specific health benefits when older adults engage socially, including:
- Potentially reduced risk for cardiovascular problems, some cancers, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis
- Potentially reduces risk for Alzheimer’s disease
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced risk for mental health issues such as depression
Walker Methodist is proud to celebrate National Activity Professionals Week. We’re continually inspired by the activity and life enrichment teams across our communities who bring structure, community, and joy to our Residents!