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Activity Directors - Introduction - Meeting Your Residents Establishes Trust, a Very Powerful Tool

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The Introduction- Meeting Your Resident
There is a skill in the art of introducing oneself and every healthcare professional must possess well practiced expertise in this area. The very essence of successful wellness care relies on this ability. This first meet and greet frequently establishes the baseline from which “trust” is built and that’s a seriously powerful tool for those wishing to care for others. You will find yourself doing this introduction repeatedly throughout your workday, and this one action will either hamper your relationship with those you serve or greatly lead to open and trusting exchange.  
Here are a few reminders about how to introduce yourself to your resident.
  • Use your first and last name. You may wear a name badge to help participants remember your name until they become familiar with you. Even if your resident has short-term-memory issues, he/she will understand and appreciate this small formality.
  • Call your resident by Mr./Mrs. and their last name as well. Those wishing you to use their first names or last name only will tell you so or may announce a preferred nickname.
  • Endearing terms are NOT permissible. Avoid using terms like “sweetie” or “dear” remind yourself that these are very grown up adults; such terms are offensive and patronizing.
  • Use a relaxed and friendly tone of voice. This will help establish a relaxed conversation. In addition, a relaxed tone will also serve to increase the residents’ confidence in your abilities. Keep the volume of your voice at a regular level unless it becomes evident that he/she is having difficulty hearing you.
  • Remember that your “body language” will say more than words. Body language is the physical clue that we use often without thinking. Some examples of positive body language are smiling, a touch, nodding and making eye contact with the person who is talking.

    Examples of body language that express displeasure are frowning, raising an eyebrow and folding our arms over our chest. Body language should match what you are saying. Even people with severe memory problems who have difficulty understanding what you say, can still “read” your body language.
  • Establish eye contact. This means looking at the person to whom you are talking. Eye contact tells the other person you are listening and that you mean what you are saying. Directly face the resident when you speak and get to his/her level (if they are sitting, sit down next to them). Keep in mind, however, and respect different cultural backgrounds and the possibility that they may interpret direct eye contact differently. It can be viewed as confrontational or authoritative posture – know this about your resident.
  • Many older people have difficulty hearing and unconsciously rely on “lip-reading” to understand what others are saying. Never shout; it raises the pitch of your voice. Many older people lose the ability to hear high-pitched sounds. That is why many older people tell you they can understand a man’s voice better than a woman’s voice.
  • Listening is extremely important. It is often more important to “zip your lip” and focus on what the other person is trying to tell you than it is to speak. It takes older people longer to react than the younger ones. Give older people plenty of time to respond to your questions/comments, never make them feel that time is of the essence.
Communication is important in all interactions and it is the bridge to successfully learning the wants and needs of your resident.  From introductions to day-to-day communication, you will establish a trusting relationship with each resident that forms mutual respect that dissipates the residents’ hesitation and opens the door for you to become his/her champion.
Have a topic request or question for Celeste? Send them over to celestechase@activitydirector.org
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Activity Directors Network was founded in 1996 on the idea that we could help create elderly care that dramatically improved the lives of those we all serve. We envision facilities that feel like homes and that celebrate our resident’s individuality and allows them to live with dignity, purpose and joy. We believe the exchange of education and wisdom between the most talented teachers and passionate students is the way to make an impact. Each and every single one of you are the revolution that is changing everything. Thanks for being a part of The Network.
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     Thank you for correcting the information that was released. I recently took the test for certification with NAAPCC and it was a very comprehensive and thorough test. It was not a simple easy test to get you certified. You had to know the information in order to complete and pass. I would recommend this avenue to anyone especially if finances are a struggle for MEPAP I & II. I did purchase the book for long-term care seventh edition and without that I would have struggled.
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    Celeste is awesome!! Anytime i have a question she gets right back with me and she is very informative. At first I didn't know if i was going to like the new course just for the fact my MEPAP course was the own pace and I work Full time plus have 3 kids. But i am loving it! It is very structured and with due dates I feel like i am holding myself more accountable for completed assignments sooner than later. It has actually been a beneficial change for me.. Thanks so much!!!
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    Good Evening I wanted to let you know that I had completed mepap 1 and had only a couple weeks left of mepap 2 so I had looked at path 2 and have taken the activities test and passed so just sending in the application. I wanted to thank you for giving all your time to us even while Kathy was ill. It didn't go unnoticed, you was a great support and helpful at ideas or even different ways of changing thoughts to positive while feeling defeated. Thank You Stacey Passa AP-BC
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