Even during a time requiring social distancing, providing and coordinating social activities remain an important part of Bethesda’s commitment to its residents. With safety as the top priority, however, some new and creative ways have been put in place to keep seniors active and involved.
The Importance of Social Activities
Erika Lloyd, Life Enrichment Coordinator at Bethesda Hawthorne Place, an Assisted Living Community, knows the importance of social activity. “The meaningful interactions during these activities keep our residents physically and mentally engaged,” Erika says. “This helps them stay independent for a longer period of time and gives them a sense of purpose, as well as something to look forward to.”
Studies have shown that seniors who stay socially active experience many benefits, including:
- Improved cognitive function
- Better emotional health
- Better physical health
- Enhanced immune system response
- More restful sleep
- Increased longevity
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most social activities for Bethesda residents involved group activities, like watching entertainers who came to perform for them, happy hours, and group bingo. There were trips to area sites, shopping in stores, and church services in the chapel.
Getting Creative with Activity Ideas
As a result of the pandemic, Erika and her Life Enrichment Team have had to come up with new ways to promote social activities. “We are doing a lot of Skype and Facetime video connections with family members,” she explains. “In addition, members of the staff visit all the residents’ rooms every day, Monday through Friday.” Staff members might stop by for a card game, help with a puzzle, or just chat.
Bethesda Hawthorne Place is also using its in-house channel to stream church services, bingo, and various other activities and information. Recently, a singer was on-site and performed outdoors. “We kept the residents and staff six feet apart from one another and everyone was wearing masks, but the residents loved it,” says Erika.
The Life Enrichment Team is also teaching computer skills to the residents, which is helping them stay connected by using their iPhones or laptops to use the video communication platform Zoom and send emails.
Lea Ann Coates, Residency Counselor at Bethesda Hawthorne Place, was impressed by a scavenger hunt in the community that posted information and pictures about COVID-19 preventative measures. “It served two purposes,” says Lea Ann. “It provided important information the residents needed to know, and it was fun because people were out of their apartments and moving.”
Lea Ann applauds Erika and her team. “They are doing an awesome job in one-to-one activities, and keeping people engaged,” she says.
“Our residents and staff are staying positive, and they are in good spirits,” Erika says. “In fact, they are coming up with new and creative ideas we can all implement to stay socially active.”
Take a look at Bethesda’s assisted living communities, and learn more about what we are doing to improve senior’s quality of life.