Life Care Centers of America
Heidi Pino

With the need for extra precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Life Care’s associates have been working hard to protect residents.

The lack of visitors and need for social distancing has changed how we entertain our residents, but our activity teams have been coming up with creative ways our residents can still have fun while staying safe.

Of course, residents are staying in their rooms a lot more, and those who are able have been doing individual activities like reading, word searches, coloring and making crafts. Hallway bingo has become popular, in which the activity team goes hall by hall to call out bingo while residents check their bingo cards in their doorways.

Each center has also received two new iPads to help residents take part in video calls to their loved ones (through apps like FaceTime and Skype). Associates have been going out of their way to help residents of all abilities keep in touch with their families by phone or live video.

Here are a few other special ways our facilities are continuing to help our residents stay active during this time:

Life Care Center of Columbia, Tennessee, implemented an activities “room service” card to pass out to residents for them to circle what independent activities they are interested in. Also, Carolyn Howell, activities director, shared, “I have ordered communion cups and bread to do communion once a week with them to help make up for the lack of spiritual friends coming in to the building.”

Camellia Gardens of Life Care in Thomasville, Georgia, received a donation from the community, and the residents chose to buy a cotton candy machine. There’s nothing like a sweet treat!

Bernadette Thomas, activity director at Life Care Center of Farmington, New Mexico, shared, “For our Native American tribes we have a blessing. It’s a big prayer for the Navajo culture that is done when trouble strikes their path.”

Life Care Center of Bountiful, Utah, took residents on tours of world-class museums through Travel and Leisure’s new virtual tours. The website offers tours of the British Museum in London, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and several others.

San Luis Care Center in Alamosa, Colorado, has been signing up many residents for the Colorado Talking Book Library so that residents can listen to audiobooks. Associates have also been providing MP3s with residents’ favorite musical genres.

Associates at Westside Village Nursing Center in Indianapolis, have been passing out magazines and having residents go on a scavenger hunt for certain items in the publications. The residents then cut those items out to make collages.

Life Care Center of Kona, Hawaii, puts on Christian movies or singalong videos to help residents fill their spiritual cup. Associates take residents out one at a time in good weather for wheelchair rides around the building and provide fresh flowers in residents’ rooms one to three times a week. They also provide a traveling beauty cart in which associates provide hand, arm and leg massages, brush and style the residents’ hair and paint their nails. “We feel if they look good, they will feel good,” said Patricia Biegner, activity director.

Residents at Life Care Center of Menifee, California, have been going outside as well to get some fresh air, feed the birds and water plants. “Contact with nature can ease anxiety and provide an all-around mood boost,” said Christina Cendejas, activity director. Residents are even painting pots and planting seeds in them.

Life Care Center of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, has been having a movie-and-popcorn time, showing a movie on the in-house channel and pushing the popcorn machine down the hallway to serve residents bowls of yummy popcorn!

Life Care Center of Paradise Valley in Phoenix not only offers adult coloring books for residents, but they’ve also had a coloring contest. In addition, each week, associates put out a jar full of goodies, and residents guess how many are in the jar. Whoever is closest gets to keep the jar and its contents at the end of the week.

Aubrey Spurlock, activity director at Life Care Center of Banner Elk, North Carolina, shared, “We are all about rolling activities right now. We were lucky to get a donation of prizes from a local elementary school. They started a fundraiser a month or so ago. Kids were allowed to wear hats to school if they donated a dollar to a gift fund for the residents at Life Care of Banner Elk. Friday, a teacher and a student brought by 15 grocery bags of assorted gifts – coloring supplies, hair brushes, flashlights, shampoo, body wash, notebooks, etc. – many of the types of prizes we stock for bingo.”

Life Care Center of Hendersonville, North Carolina, has a pen pal program for residents to write back and forth with local students. In addition, a local pastor has been sitting outside when the weather permits and singing gospel music for the residents.

Angie Swafford, activity director at Life Care Center of Vista, California, is planning a “Who Am I?” guessing game. “I will interview three staff members and residents and write something unique about them. Then I will post it on the board for everyone to guess and play.” Angie has also been providing special snacks for her staff in appreciation for their extra work – from bags of chips to breakfast burritos!

Life Care Center of the North Shore in Lynn, Massachusetts, set up a recording room for doing live broadcasts into residents rooms through the in-house cable channel. “Through that, we are doing a daily morning news report, exercise, music and games such as bingo,” said Casara Lane, activity director.

Orangegrove Rehabilitation Hospital in Garden Grove, California, has been taking care of its multilingual population in a special way. Marco Moncayo, housekeeper, has been volunteering a few minutes of his down time to play his guitar for the residents and sing in their native languages. Those include English, Korean, Italian and Spanish! Activities staff has also been encouraging family members to send past memorable photos of the residents, like their baby pictures, wedding photos and photos of their children, and using these to make a picture board or scrapbook in their rooms.

Life Care Center of Orange Park, Florida, associates have been line dancing and singing in the hallways for residents to lift their spirits and the mood of the staff as well. Check out their videos on their Facebook page.

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to activities! Chris Lehto, recreation director at Life Care Center of Longmont, Colorado, also encourages activities associates looking for more ideas for their dementia patients to join the Facebook group “Meaningful Activities for Seniors with Dementia.”

Thank you to all our amazing activities teams for making life enjoyable for our residents! See more photos below.

Life Care residents still have fun during COVID-19 precautions

Additional Images

Ida Graham, a resident at Camellia Gardens of Life Care, enjoys cotton candy due to a community member's generous donation.
Marva Smith, Jennifer Newman and Bailey Gann, LPNs at Life Care Center of Hixson, prepare to deliver ice cream.
Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley had a rolling St. Patrick's Day cart with games and activities for the holiday.
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Life Care operates or manages more than 200 skilled nursing, rehabilitation, Alzheimer's and senior living campuses in 27 states.

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