Yolanda Morado has been a resident at Charles E. Smith Life Communities (CESLC) for seven years. She took her first dance lesson later in life and continued taking them after she moved to one of our independent living residences. Today, she looks forward to the ballroom dance program offered on campus where she gets to share her new passion with her neighbors. In addition to the entertainment value, ballroom dancing can improve balance and movement and encourages socialization in older adults. The same is true of dozens of life-enrichment programs offered to residents at CESLC. All of these programs both exercise minds and bodies and bring people together to interact with each other, essential to health in later life. Our independent living, assisted living and long-term care residences offer programs that engage residents intellectually and socially.

CESLC’s life-enrichment and leisure programs are part of our commitment to person-centered care. As the Rockville’s largest long-term care provider, and as the density and variety of our programming illustrate, we value engagement in meaningful programs.

Residents throughout the CESLC campus choose from group exercise programs, art classes, music performances and hobbies.

Residents at Ring House, one of our independent living residences, attend yoga and brain fitness classes, card games, educational lectures, musical performances, opera and book clubs and writers’ groups.

Residents at Revitz House enjoy jewelry making, knitting, tie-dye classes and other expressive arts in addition to exercise and wellness classes. Other programs include a humor circle and a monthly luncheon for the Red Hat Society.

Landow House residents participate in similar programs with appropriate accommodations, such as chair during Zumba classes for those with mobility limitations. Residents can also join religious discussion groups, a poetry club, story-crafting class or drum circle, among other programs.

Residents of CESLC’s skilled nursing center, Hebrew Home of Greater Washington (HHGW), can avail themselves of many programs that enrich the creative spirit and stimulate the intellect. They can participate in table games and bridge or join the Rabbi’s discussion group, Christian Bible study, a current events forum or art classes, as well as take advantage of appropriate dance classes and group exercise.

The Gerontological Society of America maintains that social relationships are an integral part of older adults’ overall health and well-being. Healthy social engagement should both enhance personal relationships and help older adults fully participate in society. CESLC’s life enrichment programs work to meet these criteria and adjust the program to particular needs.

At Cohen-Rosen House, people living with Alzheimer’s disease or other memory impairments join fellow residents for group workouts and stretches. They move to music, play balloon tennis, trivia games, brain games, and puzzle games together, attend music performances and join in on storytelling exercises. They attend afternoon socials and evening movies.

In addition to ongoing programs in each of the residences, CESLC organizes special programs campus-wide as opportunities arise. CESLC’s dietitians collaborate with the dining services team to offer the Teaching Kitchen, an interactive program dedicated to teaching residents about all aspects of food and taste. During Jewish holidays, residents can connect with their spirituality by participating in services, music festivals and intergenerational programs.

Even some therapeutic programs at CESLC serve as pathways to social engagement. Opening Minds through Art (OMA) is an art-making program for people with memory loss. The Music & Memory program brings personalized music selections to older adults through digital audio systems. Making art and listening to music trigger memories. Talking and interacting with young volunteers stimulates people’s brains.

Some of the campus-wide programs give young people and older adults a chance to meet and share experiences. Both OMA and Music & Memory train student volunteers to provide guidance and support to residents with memory impairments and pair them with CESLC residents.

At CESLC, these programs are essential to the personalized services provided in our long-term care, independent living and assisted living residences where we strive to create life-affirming experiences for residents.