From our art classes to Crafty Tuesday to meditation to Music & Movement to yoga (pictured), the enthusiasm about the return to our vast array of in-person Life Enrichment programs is a prime example of the upbeat atmosphere at Glenmeadow as our popular activities reopen.
All 150 residents, along with the majority of team members have received two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. It’s going to take time to fully get back to pre-COVID conditions, but family and friends are visiting again—with CDC-guided precautions, meals in the dining rooms have resumed (meals had been previously delivered to their apartments for months), and residents are taking part in Life Enrichment programs in socially distanced groups after having been offered virtually on Glenmeadow’s in-house TV station, Channel 918.
“We’re encouraging residents to come in-person to as many exercise programs as they can to strengthen their legs and rebuild their stamina,” said Laura Lavoie, Director of Life Enrichment at Glenmeadow. “Isolation is counterintuitive to our mission—the complete opposite of what Glenmeadow is all about, which is energy, neighborhood, and community. We used our in-house TV station for our programming during COVID restrictions, so in many ways we’re rekindling our relationship with our residents.”
Glenmeadow has introduced many new Life Enrichment programs this spring, including “Holistically Speaking,” horticultural classes, discussion groups, “Oh So Good!”, which contains information about natural remedies and holistic ways to feel better, and they’re planting and cultivating seeds in the “I Can Grow That?” program. This is in addition to Glenmeadow’s traditional offerings, which include bowling, charades, sing-alongs, knitting, and art classes—and such exercise programs as Otago balance (run by the healthcare provider HealthPro), Tai Chi, aquacise, and yoga. Glenmeadow has also brought back its “Defying Gravity” sessions, an eight-week fall prevention program.
Glenmeadow is also hosting outside entertainment, which was highly popular with residents and sorely missed. Performers include folk guitarist Steven Piper on May 14, and on May 23 acclaimed pianist Olga Vinokur, who had regaled Glenmeadow residents with a private concert on Channel 918 during the COVID-19 lockdown. Olga will perform for residents on campus in the near future.
When the COVID-19 pandemic reached the more than a year ago, Glenmeadow followed CDC guidelines to protect its vulnerable residents, but since social isolation is as damaging to older adults as smoking cigarettes, team members quickly reinvented what it means to engage. For example, team members piped the sound of an old-fashioned ice cream cart into hallway speakers and delivered ice cream to residents as they waited in their doorways. Glenmeadow also created many creative opportunities for educational enrichment, using its in-house TV station to provide all kinds of programming, including exercise classes, trivia games, word games, Bingo, Jeopardy, and Scrabble.
“The pandemic has made us stronger as a team, and we continue to bolster our residents in many ways,” said Glenmeadow President and CEO Anne Thomas. “The vaccinations, precautions, and new life enrichment programming have been important steps toward coming out on the other side of this pandemic, but we still need to adhere to universal precautions as we begin a cautious reopening of programs and services.”
She added that she continues to be inspired by the resilience of the Glenmeadow community. “It is so encouraging to enter the building in the morning with residents eating breakfast in the Doorstop Café,” she said. “You see people coming and going, and you hear laughter. Our Glenmeadow vibe is back.”