Happy New Year to all NAAP members and supporters! We are grateful for all your suggestions and ideas, and very happy to hear your stories about how the education and resources NAAP provides has been able to help you professionally. We are here for YOU!
In January we celebrate National Activity Professionals Week and I hope you’ve taken time to peruse the offerings that week and mark your calendars to attend as much of the live events as possible. We are giving away some fabulous prizes, thanks to our partners, as well as providing some wonderful LIVE and FREE education. We’re also thrilled to celebrate this week with the National Activity Providers Association in the UK again so that Activity Professionals/Providers on both sides of the pond have the opportunity to recognize each other and learn from our shared experiences.
I had the flu over Christmas. I was the sickest I had been in 15+ years and it took me over two weeks to feel like myself again. As someone who typically has lots of energy and is very active and always working towards goals, being forced to live in the moment, sit/lay still and not be able to do any of things that I wanted over Christmas and New Year was miserable. Not to mention feeling terrible as well! However, I did have the realization that I had been taking my health for granted and also spending too much time thinking about “what’s next”. Being goal-oriented can be a huge catalyst for seeking and implementing positive change in your personal and professional life, but it can mean that you’re always three steps ahead of what’s going on today. The majority of our residents live very much in the moment, either due to their cognitive status or because they are towards the end of their lives. I remember trying to plan a cruise for a group of Independent Living residents 6 months ahead of time and no one was interested in signing up – not because they didn’t want to go but because they didn’t like to plan too far ahead. At the time I thought they were all being a little morbid and overly cautious, but now I think it was a healthy dose of reality. They decided that since their functional status in 6 months’ time could not guaranteed, they did not want to keep anticipating future events and instead enjoy today. We know that individuals with dementia are not able to look forward to something that is planned ahead, and many of them transition throughout the day between living in the present and living in the past. Creating those “moments of joy” as Jolene Brackey calls them, when an emotional connection is made with an individual and they are engaged in that moment in something that makes them happy, is part of what Activity Professionals spend our days trying to accomplish.
This year I am focusing on being present for today’s conversations and interactions. Allowing myself the freedom to be spontaneous and seize sudden opportunities as they arise. Slowing down to enjoy “what’s now” instead of choosing to only look at “what’s next”.
Wishing you a year filled with happiness, meaningful connections and doing what you love.