Staying safely connected in a world with COVID-19
Posted on August 28, 2020 by Mari Evans
COVID-19 has forced all of us to rethink how we interact with the world and each other. Still, staying connected remains vital to our well-being.
At Atria Senior Living, we believe people belong together. By making adjustments to Atria’s Engage Life® events program, team members continue to offer residents creative new ways to learn, engage and connect, safely.
Connecting across generations
Through a phone-based “reflecting and sharing” program, residents are sharing their unique wisdom with younger generations. Each week, they reflect on a current topic affecting society then share their collective insights over the phone.
In one recent example, residents who worked as teachers offered advice to parents teaching their children at home and professional teachers instructing students online during the pandemic. Soon, residents will reflect on the importance of voting and why younger generations should be encouraged to exercise their right in the upcoming elections.
A second wisdom-sharing program coming soon is a phone pal partnership with the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), where high-achieving students will be matched with older adults who have professional experience in their fields of interest.
These partnerships present valuable opportunities for diverse generations to connect from a distance over similar interests and benefit from each other’s perspectives.
Innovating to engage
At the onset of the pandemic, Atria communities were equipped with conferencing phone lines. The ability to dial in from the safety of their apartments has enabled residents to join neighbors for group sing-alongs, book clubs, art appreciation programs, word games, lectures and Broadway performances, to name a few. Many communities provide handouts to serve as visual aids.
Since residents aren’t gathering for group classes and events, Atria is bringing those experiences to them. Doorway and mobile cart events have inspired endless creativity. Staff have organized guided “paint and sip” workshops, container gardening and travel adventures via video, food samples and music. The popular Positivi-Tea program encourages residents to explore topics in the field of positive psychology while they sip a nice cup of tea.
With many gyms closed and exercise classes canceled, it’s no secret staying fit has been a challenge for many of us.
While Atria staff offer regular hallway workouts and outdoor walks at communities where local and state regulations permit, many will soon launch a new fitness challenge to further motivate residents. Small clusters of communities will compete against other groups to achieve their exercise goals and earn rewards and recognition.
“Exercise has been the most important, and probably the hardest, program to develop overall,” said Atria’s Vice President of Resident Engagement, Christy Phillips. “We’ve gotten really creative with helping residents maintain their physical strength.”
Speaking of strength, Atria residents have persevered through world wars, economic depressions and personal challenges. They have so much to teach others and their resilience is a tool Catherine Schneider, Atria’s Director of Resident Well-Being Curriculum, hopes residents are willing to share.
“We’ve developed a program to collect the wisdom behind the ways residents have learned to cope during difficult times,” said Schneider. “After all, we’re going through this together. It’s an opportunity to share stories and learn from each other.”
To learn more about how Atria Senior Living is helping residents and families stay connected, visit AtriaSafeTogether.com.