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A Day in the Life of an Activity Director

photo of Beverly and Kari

By Heidi Pino, Morning Pointe Communications Specialist

Jan. 23-27, 2023, is National Activity Professionals Week, recognizing the contributions of those who provide activities and life enrichment in senior living communities.

Morning Pointe Senior Living is blessed with many wonderful Life Enrichment Directors (overseeing assisted living/senior living activities) and Lantern Program Directors (overseeing memory care campus activities). But what do these professionals really do?

I had the privilege of shadowing two of our excellent Life Enrichment Directors on Jan. 10. Their experiences shine a light on what it means to work in activities.

photo of Beverly Smith, Life Enrichment Director at Morning Pointe of Powell
Beverly Smith, Life Enrichment Director at Morning Pointe of Powell

Beverly Smith – Life Enrichment Director at Morning Pointe of Powell Assisted Living (TN)

I started off my day at Morning Pointe of Powell with Beverly Smith, LED. Morning activities that day included Beverly leading a devotional on thankfulness, drumming exercise and trivia. The afternoon schedule included bingo and a birthday party honoring residents born in January.

Beverly has worked for Morning Pointe for almost three years.

“I started as an assistant three weeks before the COVID shutdown, so it has been an ever-changing position from Day 1,” Beverly shared.

Her first experience with the campus, however, was as a family member whose father lived at Morning Pointe of Powell. She started as a volunteer before taking on the activities position full time.

photo of Beverly leading the daily devotion
Beverly leading the daily devotion

Beverly starts out her days at the assisted living facility by doing planning and paperwork. Then she delivers devotions and goes door-to-door to invite residents to the morning activities. Mornings are pretty routine – devotions and exercise followed by an intellectual activity. After lunch is when more of the varied activities take place, such as concerts, crafts and parties. Late afternoon, Beverly usually does more planning and paperwork.

“Beverly keeps us pretty busy – we do a lot of stuff,” said Billy Franklin, Life Enrichment Assistant, who has been with Morning Pointe since November 2021.

photo of Beverly with Billy Franklin, Life Enrichment Assistant
Beverly with Billy Franklin, Life Enrichment Assistant

“I always say I have the best job in the world,” said Beverly. “It is a lot of fun and play. There is a lot of preparation and planning behind it to make things go smoothly, but where else do you get to go and play games during the day?”

The best part for Beverly, however, is not the games and fun – it’s the interaction with the residents.

“I love becoming friends with them and their families, getting to know their stories,” Beverly shared. “It’s not a job. When you love what you do, it’s a calling truly. I can see throughout my life how God has prepared me for this position and all the different roles in this job.”

photo of Resident Howard Russell drumming
Resident Howard Russell drumming

When she was asked what qualities an LED needs, Beverly pointed to diligence and attention to detail, in addition to the ability to just be a good friend to the residents and associates. For example, if you attend devotions there, you will find that she has prepared songbooks with popular hymns and praise songs printed in large print so residents can follow along easily during song service.

“I try to make every moment as meaningful as I can and have a purpose for every moment,” she said. “I didn’t work for 25 years, and I came in to volunteer, and now I can’t imagine not being here.”

photo of Kari Christopher, Life Enrichment Director at Morning Pointe of Knoxville
Kari Christopher, Life Enrichment Director at Morning Pointe of Knoxville

Kari Christopher – Life Enrichment Director at Morning Pointe of Knoxville Assisted Living (TN)

Following lunch, I drove to Morning Pointe of Knoxville to get to know Kari Christopher, LED. I enjoyed kicking off my afternoon with a rousing concert by local band TruFlyers. Residents were amused when Debbie Bendy, receptionist, danced into the activity room during “Brown-Eyed Girl” and got Kari to dance with her. The fun music was followed by a competitive game of bingo led by volunteer Donna Kinney, whose parents are both residents. Morning activities had included a Bible study and chair exercise.

Kari has worked at Morning Pointe of Knoxville since the building opened in 2019. She started as the Lantern Program Director when the campus had a Lantern memory care wing. When the stand-alone Lantern building was completed, she transferred into the LED position.

photo of Kari and Debbie Bendy, receptionist
Kari and Debbie Bendy, receptionist

Kari has 15 years of experience in activities in senior living settings, although her background is in childhood development.

“A friend at church offered me a position as an assistant in an activities role, and it just snowballed from there,” she explained. “No two days are the same – there’s no way to have monotony in this role, and that’s perfect for me. There is a new opportunity every day and something to work on that’s fun.”

photo of TruFlyers performing
TruFlyers performing

Kari’s routine is much like Beverly’s – meetings, spiritual and physical activities in the morning and intellectual and social activities in the afternoon. When she’s not busy running the activities, she might be doing research on new activities, organizing volunteers, preparing monthly calendars and newsletters, assisting residents and associates with requests or, perhaps most important, getting to know residents and their likes and dislikes.

Not every activity or adaptation is a win, Kari can tell you. For example, the residents at Morning Pointe of Knoxville like to win quarters for bingo prizes. Kari tried to mix things up with the idea of a bingo store where residents could win tickets and pick out different prizes. Nope – the residents prefer their quarters!

photo of Bingo time at Morning Pointe of Knoxville
photo of Bingo time at Morning Pointe of Knoxville

“My goal is to get activities to them that they want to do,” Kari shared. “I really like to make sure that I’m hearing the residents. My favorite part about my job is the friendships and making people happy.”

Thank you to Beverly and Kari, and to all our incredible LEDs and LPDs across the company who put smiles on our residents’ faces! Happy National Activity Professionals Week!

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