At Deupree House, Tarrah Pickard, Director of Life Enrichment and Activities, and a committee of residents work tirelessly every month to make sure that our community has a calendar full of entertainment and educational opportunities.
You’ve already seen the finished monthly events calendars on our blog. We recently had the chance to sit down with Tarrah Pickard and find out just what goes into making sure those calendars get posted. So, today, you’re getting the inside scoop.
Step 1: Let residents take the lead in planning.
Unlike many other retirement communities, Deupree House has an actual paid staff member dedicated to planning and coordinating events. But even though Tarrah is a fulltime staff member, “[our residents] are a part of everything. I only do logistics,” she says.
Because Deupree House is a community and not a facility or an institution, our residents take charge of their own schedules. They’re at the forefront of the social life here.
Life Enrichment and Activities can get anywhere from 1 suggestion a day to 1 a month—though things always seem to get busier around the holiday seasons. There’s plenty of variety to the suggestions— from lectures to interactive opportunities. Musical performances are a community-wide favorite, and we’ve been able to host some pretty amazing events from hosting the World Choir Games in 2012 to regular visits from CCM students. And that’s all thanks to connections within our community.
In fact, our residents are some of the most culturally connected people living in Cincinnati. As lifelong members and subscribers to our local talent they’ve had a role in shaping the evolution of the arts in our city through their patronage.
So, it’s thanks to our residents that our retirement community has been able to maintain the kind of close relationships to organizations like the College-Conservatory of Music, the Opera, the Ballet, and the Chamber Orchestra that have allowed us to host a number of exclusive performances.
Step 2: Find a balance between entertainment and engagement.
“My department is called Life Enrichment and Activities,” says Tarrah. “So we strive to find a balance of events that means we’re enriching lives through 6 dimensions of wellness— physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, vocational and social—not just providing entertainment. We want to make a difference.”
That’s why we sponsor a selection of lifelong learning events in addition to our exclusive performances.
- Our “Is There a Doctor in the House?” series brings in local health experts to speak to residents about the physical changes that their going through in their lives.
- And everyone enjoys learning interesting facts (or reliving old experiences) about Cincinnati from our local history speakers.
- Ken Kinder’s financial management lecture was so popular that we had to schedule an encore presentation of his insights into how the new income and estate tax laws will affect residents and their families, Charitable Gift Annuities, and how to up-date your estate plan.
- Resident technowhiz, Dr. Roger Giesel, has been hosting a well-attended weekly class “Learning iPods, iPads, and iPhones” where residents learn how to get more out of their new technology.
Step 3: Make sure everyone will have a great time.
Once all of the suggestions are in, Tarrah looks into the events and excursions that have been suggested by residents.
“There’s some rigorous testing that goes on,” she says. “I visit every museum, park, and facility that has been suggested for one of our events. I take tours, quiz docents, and sit through performances to make sure that everything lives up to our standards.”
After checking out all of the resident’s suggestions, Tarrah adds her own ideas to the list and then once a month, she sits down with the Committee for Life Enrichment and Activity to finalize the schedule.