Senior living facilities are working hard to entertain and engage their residents while adhering to social distancing requirements and visitor restrictions. Because of the isolation associated with these constraints, one of the challenges operators face is maintaining a community feel while keeping their residents—who fall into a population that’s especially vulnerable—happy and healthy.
Consider these fun and safe ideas to try at your operation:
- Plant a garden. Community gardens allow residents to spend time and keep space between each other as they tend to their plots. Plus, they can donate the produce they grow to a local food bank, which would provide an extra sense of community engagement.
- Plan an outdoor concert. Some centers are bringing musicians and singers to put on performances in parking lots and courtyards. The performers stay a safe distance from the residents but close enough to be heard throughout the premises.
- Drink up. Pairing a fun beverage with a meal adds a sparkle to your residents’ day while changing up their routine. Some facilities have provided chocolate milk, green juice stations and “quarantinis” delivered room to room. While these are small gestures, surprises of any size can lift moods.
- Go virtual. Tablets, phones and other forms of technology are great for residents to play games or take virtual tours of National Parks, museum exhibits and more. They can also video chat with their friends and families. When doing so, it’s helpful to designate staff members to assist residents in using these electronics.
- Write a letter. With limited in-person interactions, residents can become pen pals with one another. Staff can also coordinate with students in the area to pair them with the seniors as letter buddies.
While it’s challenging for residents to not be able to see family and friends, there are a number of ways to make their day brighter. It’s more important than ever to show care and understanding through this tough time—and a bit of fun goes a long way.
19 Ideas for Keeping Residents Entertained, Senior Dining Association, March 2020.
9 Ideas for Improving Mental Health Among Seniors During COVID-19, Senior Dining Association, May 2020.
The Comforting Power of Music, Senior Dining Association, May 2020.