Total Engagement is an arts-based, multi-sensory approach that provides meaningful activities for older adults and adults with special needs. This book is inspired and based on aeIDEAS’ Total Literacy, an arts-based approach to building literacy skills. Where Total Literacy pointed out that joyful learning in an enriched environment leads to lifetime learners, in Total Engagement joyful engagement in an enriched environment leads to life satisfaction and successful aging.
Bombarded with media images describing “successful aging,” adults with various health issues, impairments or disabilities may feel that they cannot be “successful” in their aging. Gerontologists explain that successful aging considers multiple factors and is a person-centered concept integrating one’s own expectations of personal happiness, health, ability and well-being in later years. Successful aging then is not based on a singular measure, but rather a composite of variables influenced by many aspects of living.
Many caregivers and care providers find it challenging to stimulate and motivate adults to stay engaged with life. They tend to focus on limitations, especially in long-term care environments where “problem-oriented” and nursing-diagnosis care plans direct care strategies. As people age, decline in health and levels of activity are somewhat expected, and several decades ago there were theories that disengagement was normal for older adults. Gerontologists have developed modern theories that encompass concepts such as continuity, activity and wellness. Success now is described as attention to multiple facets of one’s life, including health and wellness, emotions, socialization and activity.
The Total Learning Institute at IDEAS is committed to excellence through the creation of active participation tools and strategies in a variety of settings. In an often sedentary society full of disposable materials, we provide support for caregivers and care providers through Total Engagement: Enhancing Adult Engagement through Active Participation. Designed to promote interactivity, the activities allow adult participants to enter into a shared relationship as both teacher and learner. The welcoming materials provide open-ended possibilities for exploration that invite imagination and creative decision-making. Many times the communication is non-verbal; it is always non-threatening. The resulting connections create engagement, trust and a positive personal bond.”
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Supplement your Total Engagement experience with scarves, and the Music Memory listening program.