In AgeSong’s newest publication, “What Makes AgeSong Special,” the question is posed: “Is it a Passive “Activity” or is it Engagement?” Research shows that social interaction is one of the most important benefits of community living.
Traditional providers offer calendars, filled with bingo or isolating activities using MP3s and headphones. While there is nothing wrong with any of these approaches, AgeSong prefers to engage Elders, rather than predominantly to entertain them.
“Getting To Know You” is one of the most engaging activities that AgeSong offers. Each new member of the community is invited to talk about his or her social, intellectual, physical, and spiritual preferences. New community members also discuss their hopes, successes, favorite foods, time they like to get up in the morning, and other personal characteristics.
After new members of the community have introduced themselves, others in the group introduce themselves to the new member. Everyone gets a chance to share. At one such sharing, the group discovered that one elder had 12 children. At another sharing, two elders recognized each other because they had played basketball together at a sports club. Mutual interests are discovered in this interactive group. Almost everyone loves music, all kinds of music. At some point in the conversation, someone usually starts humming the tune to “Getting To Know You,” and the group takes a break from the conversation to sing this familiar song from “The King and I” movie (Rogers and Hammerstein, 1951).
This popular and meaningful “Getting To Know You” Exercise is based on the “Person-Centered Sociogram.” (Best-Martini et al, Long Term Care, 2011). ”
Best-Martini, E, Weeks, M.A., Wirth, P. Long Term Care for Activity Professionals, Social Services Professionals, and Recreational Therapists, Sixth Edition. Idyll Arbor, Inc. 360.825.7797.