Susan Strand joins Suzanne to talk about social connections, the robust and unique programming at Era Living. Susan is the Life Enrichment Director of University House Issaquah. “The fun team” is the group that provides the fun at the community, scheduling daily activities, personal transportation, and more. How do you begin, how do you plan? Era Living has a standard of activities that’s a great place to start, providing mind-body-spirit connection, and Susan meets monthly with her residents to see what they want to do, bounce ideas off of each other. Among the unique things they’ve done included bringing in two live llamas. Music, happy hour with appetizers and celebrations, creative writing classes, tea pairing… They also bring in lecturers such as art history, music history, philosophy series… they learn about rocks, birds, you name it. Something different, always providing new opportunities and new experiences is the goal, as well as learning.
Susan says, “When I provide opportunities for our residents to learn, that’s when I have great attendance and that’s when I have the best feedback. Those could be lectures where they learn something, they could be a super cool outing where we go to a behind the scenes tour, or — this one was good, this was a tea pairing. We went and learned about tea, and they buy with cheese and chocolate. So that’s something different, always providing new opportunities and new experiences as well as learning. We do offer some art classes and a creative writing class. So for those maybe didn’t have the time before or didn’t know they were good at those things or wanted to pursue those, we have those. We also got in contact with a woman who has service llamas, and these huge two huge llamas came right out of her back of her van. And they came in, and our residents asked tons of questions about the llamas. They walked around the room and then the residents took selfies with them. That was unique.”
University House Issaquah, featuring independent living and assisted living, is at 22975 SE Black Nugget Rd, Issaquah, WA. Their activity calendar is posted here. Learn all about Era Living at Answers for Elders or at their website.
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Originally published May 15, 2023
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