Maintaining a Sense of Normalcy

To protect public health and maximize quality of life for Perley Health residents, staff and managers continue to adjust policies and programming in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Therapeutic Recreation and Creative Arts (TRCA) team, for instance, has done a particularly stellar job of adapting its programming. Donations to the Perley Health Foundation support Therapeutic Recreation and Creative Arts programming.

Large groups, such as the choir, no longer gather, but activities with smaller numbers of participants, such as the reminiscing, trivia and exercise groups are all continuing. In some cases, sessions are held in unit activity rooms to ensure that physical-distancing guidelines can be respected.

Instead of a mass gathering in the cafeteria for the annual St. Patrick’s Day concert, musicians gave a series of intimate performances to smaller groups. The reaction from residents, staff and family members to the Therapeutic Recreation and Creative Arts team’s efforts has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The team continually comes up with new ways to engage and inspire residents,” says Therapeutic Recreation and Creative Arts Coordinator Robyn Orazietti. “The craft studio is busy, our new Virtual Visit program is increasingly popular, and our musicians, artists and therapists continue to work with residents.”

Staff and residents continue to find new ways to collaborate and to keep spirits up. Residents and Seniors’Village tenants with computer access are being encouraged to take advantage of programming, such as yoga classes, posted to the Active Seniors website

Although Therapeutic Recreation and Creative Arts staff members have long escorted residents to programming and helped with meal services, they have stepped up these efforts recently due to the restrictions on volunteers. Many family members and tenants of the independentliving apartments are also stepping up.

A few residents have received best wishes through their windows from family members gathered outside with signs and banners, for instance. In pictures and videos posted to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, some supporters express appreciation for the efforts of staff and volunteers, while others pass along best wishes to residents.  

“What we’re seeing shows just how strong the Perley Health community is,” says Carolyn Vollicks, Director of Community Outreach and Programming. “I’m proud and delighted to see everyone pulling together at a time like this, and with everyone’s support, I’m confident that we can keep it up.”

By Peter McKinnon