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Seniors enjoy sunny sockhop

By Hannah Scott

Published 3:53 PDT, Fri July 29, 2022

Residents of long-term care facilities have been among those most impacted by the pandemic. Following several years of being unable to hold events, staff at Richmond Lions Manor aimed to bring a little fun with a recent sockhop.

“Before the pandemic, we provided a variety of rehabilitation and leisure programs that focused on cognitive function, leisure exploration, and activities of daily living,” says Jennifer Sandhu, a rehabilitation leisure assistant at the facility. Sandhu says programs offered prior to the pandemic allowed residents to express themselves physically, emotionally, spiritually, cognitively, and socially. Activities included fitness sessions, arts and crafts, bus outings, gardening, and social outings.

“Large group special events such as Hawaiian parties, Canada Day parties, Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s, Mardi Gras, resident (barbeques), and cultural luncheons have always brought great joy and laughter to our residents,” says Sandhu.

But during the pandemic, only small group and individual activities were allowed. The sockhop, with live music provided by Bobby Bacchus, was the first opportunity to bring people together. Sandhu says the staff team wanted to bring back a feeling of togetherness.

“In a long-term care setting, celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, cultural events, and special occasions is one simple yet priceless way older people can have meaningful engagement with life,” says Sandhu. “Coming together as a community to celebrate a special event using decorations, food, and drink can create a celebration to be treasured by everyone, leaving happy memories for weeks to come. Looking forward to an upcoming special event can have an encouraging effect on a resident’s well-being.”

Residents, staff, and family members were invited to attend the event. Despite the warm weather, it was an opportunity to enjoy some music and sunshine in the facility’s courtyard.

For long-term care residents who may feel they have lost control of their independence, events and opportunities like this “can really help residents improve their mood, reduce anxiety and help them make connections and foster positive experiences,” says Sandhu.

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