ROSH HASHANAH EDITION
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“I’M really busy. I don’t think I’ll come to today’s activity,” says a resident at Springbrooke Retirement and Assisted Living Community.
“Just come for a few minutes,” responds Cheryl Baldwin, activities director.
“Ok, just for a little,” says the resident.
Several weeks later, the resident will thank Baldwin for pushing her to take part in the activity and meet new friends.
This conversation is common at Springbrooke as Baldwin ensures that there is an activity that will brighten every resident’s day. Activities are not cookie cutter and mundane. Variety is the name of the game.
Among the five to eight activities offered every day, exercise classes are at the forefront.
“Exercise is very important for their strength, balance and to minimize falls. We do several types of exercise classes: a general exercise, a strength and balance class, 90 degree yoga (because 90 degrees is sitting in a chair) and an arthritis foundation program,” says Baldwin.
Wii bowling is also incorporated as a fun and youthful way to stay active.
Naturally, residents get exercise by living at Springbrooke because the distance from the bed to the dining hall is a longer distance than the same walk in a house or apartment.
In addition to physical exercise, mental exercise is essential to overall well-being. A memory enhancement class was held to educate residents about how to make daily activities a little easier and less stressful, like remembering where the keys were placed.
Rummikub, Scrabble and bridge are frequently played to keep the mind sharp and operating smoothly.
SPRINGBROOKE has about 130 residents. JFS leads Shabbat services on Fridays. Major Jewish holidays, including the upcoming High Holidays, are also celebrated at Springbrooke.
Weekly activities include lunch outings, live entertainment and happy hour.
“Happy hour is very popular and I’m glad it’s very popular. It’s a great way for [the residents] to get to know each other in a very informal setting,” says Baldwin.
The men of Springbrooke, who might not find a group lunch or beauty parlor gossip up their alley, have an active men’s group. They participate in more “manly” activities, such as a tour of the Firefighter’s Museum or Coors’ Brewery. The oldest member of the group is 99.
To go from living alone to living in a community with 130 other people is a huge adjustment. It takes time to get acclimated, but after awhile, Baldwin, the staff and the resident’s family members can see a change in attitude.
Baldwin says, “They are in contact with people all the time. They have a social event in their life every day. They blossom. Family members will say, ‘my mother never did stuff like this! I can’t believe that’s my mom!’
“If you are by yourself and can’t drive anymore, you couldn’t do [the activities that Springbrooke offers]. It’s interesting to see how quickly they will make friends” and become a part of the community.
Copyright © 2013 by the Intermountain Jewish News