Purposeful Programming for 2023 at Benchmark
January 23 – 27 is National Activity Professionals Week. It’s a week where we celebrate all that activity and programming professionals do in their everyday work, which includes planning and implementing programs in aging and health services. The programming they prepare isn’t just designed to keep people busy, but to also enhance quality of life by providing meaningful experiences and skill development.
We’re especially proud of our programming professionals here at Benchmark. For the past 25 years, they have made carefully considered program calendars to keep our residents feeling fulfilled and engaged. We understand the overall social, emotional and physical impact thoughtful programming has on our residents’ health. That’s why every Benchmark community has several programming associates on staff for each level of care to help plan activities tailored to their residents. It’s largely because of the work they do that our residents are able to enjoy new experiences, learn new skills, and make new connections with their neighbors and caregivers.
All of our programming serves a specific purpose, whether that be to improve the wellness of our residents or help them find new hobbies. We pride ourselves on offering comprehensive programming that grows more diverse each year. For example, here are just some of the activities we include in every week’s schedule:
- 7 physical programs to get our residents moving.
- 7 intellectual programs to get our residents thinking.
- 7 sense of purpose programs to help our residents feel a sense of belonging.
- 5 emotion-centered programs to keep our residents in touch with their feelings.
- 3 spiritual programs to help our residents stay connected to their beliefs.
- 2 outings to help our residents engage with their local communities.
- 2 Benchmark Strong programs to maximize each resident’s mobility and independence.
Our programming professionals come up with a unique theme for each year’s programming, along with monthly themes designed to compliment it. The 2023 theme for our programming is The Wellness Connection: Mind, Body and Spirit. Here’s a look at the programming we have planned for our residents in the coming months that expand on that theme:
January – Becoming Wellness Aware
January’s activities will be centered around what overall wellness means. We’ll explore how to nourish our mental and emotional well-being, as well as our physical health. We’ll also focus on how positivity goes hand in hand with productivity, and how to help our residents find joy throughout their wellness journeys.
February – Time for the Heart
The heart is more than just a vital organ, it’s where life and love take shape. This month, we’ll not only learn how to live with the health of our hearts in mind, but also what it means to live with a full heart. We’ll explore how bringing love to all things we do not only benefits others, but enriches our own lives.
March – Supporting Brain Health
Think of all we rely on our brains for—they’re how we’re able to learn, remember, feel, multitask, dream, focus, create, transform, and so much more. This month, we’re learning how to take better care of this marvelous little organ by focusing on cognitive health and ways we can keep our minds sharp.
April – Better Care for our Environment is Better Care for Ourselves
When it comes down to it, we’re only as healthy as our beautiful blue home is. This month, we’ll be learning how the health of our planet directly influences our personal health—and how we can nurture both at once. Small changes like adopting a “meatless Monday” diet or taking up gardening can be beneficial to both us and Mother Earth.
May – Connection: I Am Because You Are
Human connection is at the heart of everything we do at Benchmark. That’s why we’re dedicating the entire month of May to focusing on how to make and keep our connections. Taking care of others often starts with taking care of yourself, so we’ll be helping our residents connect with themselves in order to better connect with those around them. We’ll bond over music, food and art, and share experiences that bring us closer together.
June – Using Knives and Forks as a Pathway to Better Health
There’s a lot of truth to the old expression, “You are what you eat.” What we put on our plates influences how we feel, think, and how much energy we have. That’s why for the month of June, we’ll be focusing on educating residents on how to take up healthier eating and cooking habits. We’ll introduce healthier options, share recipes, and make each forkful towards a healthier diet more delicious than the last.
July – Giving: A Biopsychosocial-Spiritual Act
Hardly anything feels as good as being the reason for someone else’s smile. This July, we’ll be exploring the benefits of giving and how we can contribute to the happiness of others and the greater good of our community. We’ll learn the importance of giving back by volunteering and/or donating to organizations in need—and by simply lending a hand to those around us!
August – We are Designed to Move
In August, we’ll be diving into all the ways our bodies thank us when we give them a little exercise. The benefits of physical activity include greater independence, improved balance, more energy, the prevention and counteraction of disease, and better brain function. Physicians and researchers recommend seniors stay as active as possible without overexerting themselves, so we’ll explore a number of different activities and exercises that will keep our bodies moving.
September – Relax: Awaken Your Inner Self
Did you know relaxation is about more than just settling into your favorite place on the couch? Relaxation isn’t mindless, it’s an intentional act of wellness and key to our overall health. It helps us counteract stress hormones, find emotional balance, promotes our physical health, and encourages a feeling of resilience. All throughout September, we’ll be focusing on ways to ground ourselves with mindful and calming activities.
October – Commit to Great Happiness
To be human is to look for happiness everywhere we go. It’s a feeling we’re all looking to find, relive, capture, and keep—and also a feeling that contributes deeply to our overall well-being. In October, we’ll be exploring ways to share and express happiness with those around us, because as Mark Twain once wrote, “To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.”
November – Gratitude: Expand Your Sense of Self and Others
With Thanksgiving on the horizon, November’s programming will be centered around gratitude and what being thankful means for our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Gratitude has been found to decrease anxiety and depression, reduce stress, and increase the feel-good neurotransmitters in our brains. This month we’ll focus on what we’re grateful for and how we can pay our gratitude forward.
December – Breathe and Renew
Stop what you’re doing and take a deep breath in. Hold it for a moment, then let it go. Don’t you feel better already? Mindful breathing helps regulate our emotions and keeps our brains sharp as we age—plus, it has been found to lessen symptoms associated with anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression. In December, we’ll be focusing on breathing techniques and mindful activities that help center us and “reset” our bodies for the new year.
As you can see, there’s something for everyone in our upcoming year of programming. We’d like to once again thank our activity professionals for bringing added dimension, engagement, depth and most importantly, fun to the lives of all our residents. We look forward to sharing another great year of meaningful activities with all of you!