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Beyond Bingo

Carillon Assisted Living: Leather Jewelry Class

Residents at Carillon Assisted Living of North Raleigh learn the art of leather jewelry

Not that there is anything wrong with a lively game of bingo now and then, but activity programming in today’s senior care communities has evolved, thankfully, far beyond simple games of chance.  Today, a vibrant activity program for seniors is one that meets a broad range of human interests and needs — social, intellectual, spiritual and educational. At the heart of Carillon’s activity program is the belief that retirement shouldn’t be the end of anything, but the beginning of a new chapter in life that is all about opportunities for growth and new experiences.

Activities at Carillon’s 17 senior assisted living communities statewide are as varied as the activity directors who developed and manage them. By our count, that’s 17 versions of authentic, inspiring activity programming for seniors. Here is a look at just three of our 17 wonderful activity directors and the programs they run in their respective communities.

At Carillon Assisted Living of Durham, Sandy Wood keeps the energy level in the community on high at all times. To say that there is always an activity going on is not only true, it’s an understatement. Sandy won Best Activity Programming in the company for 2013, and it isn’t hard to see why.

“I listen very carefully to what my residents tell me they want to do, and want to learn, and enjoy,” says Sandy. “But I also listen to what is not being said. The residents look at the activity schedule for the week and see crazy things like “Fun with False Teeth,” and they think, ‘Well, I have to go and see what that’s about.’ And we tell silly stories and giggle together. And then the next day we’ll play Fact or Fantasy, and learn something new while doing something we love. I have a group of ladies who are real givers, and together we make things for the children at the Masonic Home. We share smiles and tears and laughter. They’ve shaped me into the person I am, and they keep me going.”

At Carillon Assisted Living of Salisbury, Julie Koontz Leffler is known for her creativity and passion for the arts. Her careful, detailed nature gives residents a sense of calm. They know that any endeavor they undertake with Julie will lead to something beautiful, lasting, and worthwhile.

“I know how to do lots of crafts and artistic things, and I love to pass that on to the residents. If they say, ‘Oh, I don’t know how to do that,’ I tell them just to try, just try, and let’s see what comes. And usually, what comes is something even better than they thought it could be.”

At Carillon Assisted Living of Asheboro, Amanda Krayniewski’s youth could work against her, if she weren’t so adept at bridging the generation gap. Just twenty-four years old, Amanda connects with residents in a way that cannot be taught. She’s intuitive about how best to engage them, when to offer help, and when to solicit their guidance.

“I have a great group of leaders here at Carillon of Asheboro,” says Amanda. “If I have a resident who is reluctant to participate in an activity, or any activity, I will enlist the help of my residents. That creates a sense of community for all of us. I learn from them, and they have fun with me. We’ll take the van out for Mystery Tours, which means it’s a mystery where we are going that day. We never know where we will turn up. Along the way, we laugh and tell stories. The point is: the journey is more important than the destination.”



Posted in Carillon Caregivers, Resident and Community Life, Sage Stories on March 7, 2014

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