Ambera will offer a wide range of activities at each of our projects, so we will need an engaged, positive person to arrange these activities, and stay on top of organising the calendar for each community. We’ve taken another leaf out of the USA’s book – they have built more than 2000 successful communities around social meeting spaces and being part of a larger community since the first Active Adult Community in 1960 – and have decided to have a Lifestyle Director at each of our projects. The Lifestyle Director will be the heart of the community, and will make sure there is always something fun to do for every resident!
But what does that mean for a Lifestyle Director’s role day-to-day? How will he/she make sure there is always a variety of things for residents to do? And how much influence can residents have over what goes on? Let’s hear it direct from a Lifestyle Director themselves!
The Community our contact works at is one of the largest in Florida, with a few thousand residents. It has plenty of facilities, lots of activities for residents to do, and there is no shortage of places for residents to gather.
“Since we have such a big activity centre, there are lots of places for residents to meet up. Among other things, we’ve got an amazing swimming pool and gym that are available to everyone, and our residents use them all the time,” she explains.
She goes on to say that it is the residents themselves who are most concerned with staying physically active, hence the Lifestyle Director’s role in providing plenty of different opportunities for people to get up and get moving – whatever it takes!
“I understand that Europeans are a lot more interested in going outside, being athletic, and being active than us Americans,” she says, smiling, “but something the residents here like best is exercise classes. So we arrange everything from swimming classes to Tai Chi to CrossTraining – and we make sure there’s something for all skill levels!”
… asks a curious Ambera employee.
“Well, I arrange lots of coach trips, where we go on day trips to things nearby. That can be anything from walks and hikes, to dinner shows and theatre, to trips to the beach. I always try to make sure there are some coach trips to register for, and residents even send in requests for places and trips for us to look into!”
Crafts courses are also something she invites residents to, since she herself enjoys being creative.
“I spend a lot of time going on YouTube and looking for fun, interesting things we can do. Or sometimes we’ll hire instructors who can come in and teach a class, or otherwise inspire people with their creativity and their skill,” she explains.
But our friendly Lifestyle Director admits that she doesn’t always have to go looking for things for residents to do herself. And that’s because:
“We have about 57 different clubs here that cover most people’s interests, and most of them are run by the residents themselves. As Lifestyle Director, I help spread the word so other residents can hear about the new activity and join in if they’re interested.
“I try to encourage everyone with a hobby to start a class or interest group. Same if anyone feels they can’t find anything that works for them – I suggest they start up something they’re interested in, so I can help out. But with 57 clubs, most people can find something to their tastes,” she says with a laugh.
Additionally, if someone decides on their own that starting up, say, a Chess Club interests them, they can contact the Lifestyle Director directly.
“So I try to inform as many people as possible about new clubs – so more and more people get interested. I set up meetings, reserve rooms, and spread the word. We’ve got cards club, poker club, pickleball groups, chess club, gardening club, book clubs, and even a bible group – among others. We also have residents who’ve started bands and invite people to concerts. We’ve got a large stage and a great sound system, so they’re really popular!” she continues.
“We have an amazing website where we post all the activities and events that are coming up. Every morning, we send out an email with things happening in the activity centre that day.”
To make certain all the residents get the chance to take part in the things that interest them, she also invites residents to ‘Coffee Chats’ twice a month. Anyone who comes by will hear about what’s happening in the restaurant or any changes that may be in the works, and find out about new activities that may be starting soon – alongside a nice cup of coffee.
“That way, even people who don’t read their emails can come and hear about what’s going on. Our job is to make everything easier for our residents,” the Lifestyle Director explains.
Whenever new residents move in, she gives them a short tour of the activity centre, and gives them an overview of different interest groups and clubs they might want to join.
“I like to take the time to get to know them and ask what their interests are. If we have something that might be a good fit for them, I ask if they’d be interested in signing up. If we don’t have something that lines up with their hobbies, I ask if they’d be interested in starting a new group,” she says.
“A lifestyle Director needs to be energetic, fun, and definitely extroverted! He/she needs to really love organising things, and needs to have a personality that engages and motivates people,” she concludes.