5 Ways to Enhance Your Current Events Programs For Seniors
Nearly all senior living communities have some type of current events program listed on their life enrichment calendar. It’s no wonder why, as residents can use current events programming to feel more connected to the world around them, to strike up conversations with their neighbors, or to get involved with activism that enhances their sense of purpose.
Current events programming can be so much more than opening up a local newspaper while sipping coffee together. In fact, depending on your resident population and preferences, the right current events opportunities can enhance lifelong learning and community connections. Ready to take your current events programming to the next level? Try incorporating any of these tips (or adapt them for your resident population) in your next calendar.
Connect with Local Leaders
Bring the newspaper to life by inviting local leaders in to connect with your residents. Try inviting the Mayor in for lunch and a discussion about the state of the city, or offer to host a debate between two candidates running for Alderman in your district. Many of your residents are registered voters and having the chance to mingle with current leaders and hopeful candidates can be beneficial for them as they make their voting decisions.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be voting season in order to invite local leaders to your community. In fact, you should try to schedule something quarterly so that local leaders form a relationship with your community and the residents who live there.
Pro tip: Consider preparing for lunch or coffee with a leader with your residents ahead of time. Plan one event where residents can write down questions they have for the leaders to answer, and another to read up on that leader’s platform and positive impact.
Tour City Hall Virtually or In Person
Take residents on a road trip with an educational purpose by scheduling a visit at your local City Hall. Call ahead to schedule your tour and to let the representative know about any accessibility needs your group has. Be sure to read about the history of your particular City Hall with your residents ahead of time, as many buildings have a deep history residents will enjoy hearing about. In fact, they might even recall some of the historic events that took place there if they are local themselves.
Other excursion opportunities for guided tours can include your state’s capital (depending on your proximity), county courthouse, or historian house.
Pro tip: Plan to get lunch, breakfast, or coffee with residents as a part of this outing. Consider asking the Mayor their favorite spot to grab a bite when they are working at City Hall and go there. Be sure to make your reservations ahead of time!
Meet Journalists and Photographers
Most residents grew up reading their news in a newspaper, not necessarily online and definitely not through social media. Tap into this history by taking a special interest in your local journalism scene.
Invite journalists from your local newspaper to host a presentation at your community where they talk about their favorite stories they have written, their most challenging story, and other stories from the field. A local photojournalist is another wonderful resource that can bring current events to life. Have them bring their favorite photos and tell the story of how it happened.
Bonus opportunity: Tour your local newspaper’s office. Residents can learn how newspapers are written, printed, and delivered today. We’re betting you’ll have a lot of paper route reminiscing opportunities here!
Start a Community Newspaper
Give residents the chance to report on community news by starting your own community newspaper. Invite residents to submit articles to the monthly or quarterly publication individually or work as a group once a week to brainstorm ideas, research topics, and write articles.
Your community newspaper can supplement your activity newsletter and can have news about your senior living community and your greater city or region.
Pro tip: Be sure to add an advice column to your newspaper. Invite staff, family members, or other guests to write in asking for advice. Then, your residents can work together to respond. This is a great way for residents to share their life experience and offer words of wisdom they have gained along the way.
Interact and Engage
Finally, be sure your current events programs are interactive and offer group participants the chance to answer questions, share their opinions, and engage with one another. One way to accomplish this, without adding to your already lengthy to-do list, is to start a subscription to News Currents Sr.
Your subscription includes 48 weekly, online issues to use for your next Coffee Talk or Current Events session. Each News Currents Sr. article includes unbiased information, supporting photographs, and questions to guide your discussion. It’s all the great stuff you would normally use with your residents, but you don’t have to do the research ahead of time!
Even better, News Currents Sr. is easy to use. This means that you can feel confident giving it to a volunteer or caregiver to lead a fulfilling and engaging group, making it ideal for early morning, late evening, or weekend programming.
“This is the best thing I have found for keeping residents aware and engaged in current news of the present and past. The more we meet, the more comfortable they seem to become with expressing themselves.”
— Summerville at Ocala West, Ocala FL
“This program has been exceptionally stimulating and important for our residents.”
— Ebenezer Luther Hall, Minneapolis, MN
We’d love to hear how your community uses Current Events Sr.. Let’s continue the conversation on social media. Follow us @KnowledgeUnLmtd on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. #NewsCurrentsSr #RememberWhen