Enriching the lives of the elders

The Nazareth Home activities staff inspire, engage and enrich the lives of those we serve as they promote everyone’s well-being at the Highlands and Clifton campuses. This week, as we celebrate National Activities Professionals Week, we recognize our activity staff for their creative spirit, enthusiasm, energy and compassion.

A robust activity program is essential to the elders and is at the heart of hospitality and enhancing quality of life. The elders at Nazareth Home went from working, taking care of family, cooking and cleaning to living at a place where those items are now taken care of for them. The elders find themselves with more time on their hands, and offering various meaningful, nurturing and engaging activities is a wonderful way to fill their extra time. 

Over the past year, activity programming has changed because of COVID-19. The elders need stimulation and interaction through activities now more than ever. It’s important for them to participate in their favorite activity, spend time engaging with others and, when possible, leave their room for a change of scenery.

Our activity staff has worked tirelessly and courageously to develop new, innovative and meaningful activities that allow for social distancing. These have included activities such as: 

      • Daily hallway exercise.
      • Hallway games such as Bingo, Bunco and card games. Each elder has their own cards, dice or game pieces to limit contact. 
      • Art and painting projects in their doorways or in a small group setting when able.
      • Virtual concerts by local musicians. 
      • When meeting in a small group for socialization like happy hour is restricted, the activity staff goes room to room with a bar cart with snacks. 
      • Hallway parades, which are always a favorite. 
      • The staff has found new ways to use the closed-circuit TV to allow elders to share with one another. For example, at the Clifton campus, elders are writing down some of their favorite home remedies they or their parents used, and then share with everyone on campus through the closed-circuit TV channel.
      • The staff always make sure there are plenty of in-room activities available such as word searches, crossword puzzles and books, to name just a few.

The pandemic has brought more consistent use of technology as a means to communicate with family. Facetime and Zoom meetings have been instrumental in keeping the elders in touch with their families. The mobile It’s Never Too Late (iN2L) technology is also used frequently for hallway activities that include music, games and education. As we move into the future, technology will continue to play a large role in the activities schedule.

Not only are the activities teams facilitating programs to keep the elders engaged, but they also are going above and beyond in many other areas.

      • They facilitate window visits and, when able, in-person visits with social distancing.
      • They assist with many tasks that the elders’ families have historically done, from organizing rooms, putting laundry away, and even helping elders pay bills. The activities staff make themselves available to the elders in any way needed.

The teams also work closely with the pastoral care team at both campuses, as they provide additional time for prayer and other religious activities that are so important to the elders.

The intent is the activities at Nazareth Home fit into our person-centered care approach. The activity teams identify each elder’s interests and needs and involve them in ongoing activity programs designed to enhance their physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being.

Our goal is to not just fill time but to enrich the lives of the elders who live at Nazareth Home. Thanks to our activity staff who do just that each day.

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