Here at ERH, we strongly believe that seniors shouldn't have to sacrifice fun and excitement just to be able to afford retirement. People who have worked hard all their lives deserve continued enrichment and fulfillment.
In fact, we believe so strongly in this philosophy, that we've made it the cornerstone of our approach to senior care in Greater Cincinnati. As a result, the staffers at ERH retirement communities go to great lengths to keep their residents active, engaged and happy, without breaking seniors’ budgets.
These aren't your typical activities.
After retirement, many seniors who had found meaning in their careers often feel adrift.
To improve seniors’ quality of life, that connection to drive and purpose must be reestablished. It's critical that older adults understand and feel that they have important contributions yet to make even after retirement.
And this belief highlights the major differences between activities at ERH and those hosted by retirement communities is that we specifically design our programs to help seniors to feel like they have a purpose and way to continue to positively contribute.
Every Wednesday, for example, residents with an interest in needlework meet to Crochet for a Cause. Members of the group indulge their passions for knitting and socializing by gathering to make hats and scarves which are then donated by the residents to Cincinnati hospitals and local homeless advocacy groups.
Other residents are engaged in helping to enrich the education of local students. ERH’s Council for Life Long Engagement (CLLE) pairs seniors with teachers at local schools; the residents give presentations, designed to pair with a lesson a teacher is implementing, on career experiences or other topics of interest to them. The CLLE also hosts career fairs, during which students can chat one-on-one with seniors about future job options, and etiquette luncheons where children learn, and practice exhibiting, good manners.
Another popular activity ministers to residents’ spiritual needs, while providing an opportunity to get out and socialize. Every third Friday, a core group of residents meet for Prayers, Praise and Potatoes — a baked potato luncheon sponsored by St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, which includes a Bible study and gospel singing.
Sometimes, the only cause is just good, wholesome fun.
Fun at ERH communities isn’t limited to the occasional movie or bingo night.
There are monthly meal excursions to restaurants chosen by popular vote, bus trips to downtown attractions like the Cincinnati Art Museum, Reds baseball games, plays and the symphony. And every morning, there are coffee hours to give residents a chance to catch up.
Many ERH community members stay active long into their golden years. Florence Beaber, a centenarian resident, says that she tries to attend every activity on the schedule.
“We have a lot of things to choose from,” she asserted. “They help stimulate my mind, and they help keep me aware of things that are going on.”
In addition to mental and emotional wellness, many activities focus on residents’ physical fitness.
One of the keys to keeping people active is to keep them moving. There are a bevy of regularly scheduled group fitness opportunities, as well as fun games designed to get folks up and about.
“We want our residents to thrive, and these activities help them to do so,” said Kathy Ison-Lind, Vice President of Affordable Housing and In-Home Services at ERH. “When people are involved and staying active, they are much healthier and happier.”
Weekly chair volleyball matches, for example, are quite popular. Residents play from chairs that have been set up like a volleyball court. The matches can get pretty competitive, too, according to regular participant Willa Wright.
“They get into it like the real ballplayers do,” she reported.
Another low-impact, fun game residents enjoy is video bowling on Nintendo Wii. One St. Paul Village resident, Shirley Turner, has bowled two perfect games.
“They really go all out,” she said. “We have a lot to be thankful for.”