Pandemic Positivity

By on Apr 15, 2020 in News

Social distancing has changed the daily routines for countless people, but for those in senior living communities, it’s been especially hard.

Visitors are no longer allowed, and residents are encouraged to stay secluded in their rooms out of safety concerns. For a population already prone to isolation and loneliness, these restrictions are more than just inconveniences. They’re health risks.

Thankfully, senior living residents aren’t as alone as they might think.

Social media feeds are awash with outpourings of support from the public. And the positivity isn’t limited to just sidewalk art or handwritten letters. Community staff and family members across the country are taking incredible steps to raise the spirts of their residents.

Check out these creative examples of senior living fun in the face of COVID from some of our own clients:

Virtual bingo with a guest star

Bingo nights may be more fun in person, but there’s a silver lining to taking it online: Your host can be anyone. For The Enclave at Round Rock, a Spectrum Retirement Community, that anyone was Matthew McConaughey. Matthew and his family joined residents online last Saturday for several rounds of bingo, calling the draws out together. Whoever won then got to ask him a question of their choice.

“The residents absolutely loved seeing Matthew and his family and enjoyed hearing him talk about what he’s doing to get through this crisis,” Molly Davis Nedly, sales director at The Enclave, told CBS News. “It gave them hope and was the boost that they needed to get through this lonely, challenging time.”

A personal parade on wheels

A birthday is always a special occasion. A 101st birthday even more so. Fortunately, Maxine Hollowood got the opportunity to celebr

One Yardi client’s creative balcony workout for seniors made TV news in San Diego.

ate hers in a big way. A resident at Flemings Island, Allegro Senior Living, Maxine was able to enjoy her very own car parade from the safety of her community.

Staff, family and friends threw the party as a motorcade to observe social-distancing guidelines without excluding Maxine’s loved ones. “The parade was wonderful,” Hollowood said. “I say better than a big celebration inside — I don’t have to clean up!”

Please don’t stop the music

Just because concerts are canceled doesn’t mean live music can’t come to you. At The Harmony in Brentwood, one resident’s son has been visiting multiple times a week, guitar and microphone in tow, to play music. He sets up in the courtyard while residents listen from their balconies.

“I can’t underestimate the power of music in a time like this,” David DeLoach, the musician, said in a news interview. “There’s things we can do, little things, that I think will make a big difference as they’re multiplied across more and more people.”

Activities in the time of social distancing  

Across Merrill Gardens’ communities, staff have been coming up with unique ways to engage residents while keeping everyone safe. They’ve put together happy hour carts that deliver goodies. They’ve staged pop-up birthday stands out front of residents’ doors. They’ve provided tablets so residents can video conference with friends and family.

At their Bankers Hill community, residents can even exercise together, albeit from a distance. Their regular fitness instructor Marina Kahn, prevented from visiting, now teaches from the sidewalk instead. “I’ve been exercising with them for the past two years, so I know them pretty well, and it’s just heartwarming to see all of them out on their balconies,” said Marina.

We hope you found some inspiration in these stories. And while it may be hard to recruit Mr. McConaughey to be your own bingo host, don’t let that stop you from trying something new. The true stars in senior living are those like you who work tirelessly in support of residents.