She Puts the "Active" in ActivCare:
Meet Carmen Bandstra, Activity Director
For three years, Carmen Bandstra, activity director at ActivCare at Bressi Ranch, has put the fun in each day for our residents.
It started as a passion as a teenager. Carmen enjoyed visiting elders in her community. Hearing stories, developing relationships and engaging seniors led to a fulfilling career in activities for the mother of four.
"It's the little moments that I share with residents that make my day," said Carmen. "I truly enjoy the rapport and trust that I have built with our residents. They recognize me and look forward to new adventures together."
Carmen has a passion for learning that she shares through her biography, travelogue and history club activities. She especially enjoys the Resident in the Spotlight feature where she interviews a resident who shares stories with the rest of the community.
Each month, Carmen puts together a customized calendar of creative activities that engage residents and help exercise cognitive abilities, large motor skills, creativity and socializing. The focus is on FUN. She recognizes that if people are experiencing fun, they participate and gain fulfillment.
Music, exercise, cooking, crafts, fieldtrips and special events add to the fun. To spark creativity, Carmen checks out about 50 books from the library every month. Always brimming with new ideas, she also ensures that residents are set up for success. Instructions are simple, taking one step at a time, and groups are small to involve everyone.
"To feel understood is very important, especially for those with dementia. I try to bring an appreciative and welcoming presence to our residents daily," said Carmen. "T
he joy I receive from entering into a resident's world, in their particular reality, and being a friend for them there is what motivates me."
Look for Carmen on your next visit to ActivCare at Bressi Ranch and join in on the fun.