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The global COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed our day to day duties with residents. However, there is a bright side to get you through these tough times: people really want to help.
Here are some ideas for getting your greater community to help your community.
26 Fun Ideas for Community Assistance
Every senior living community is different, and your needs are going to be unique. However, here are a few ideas of ideas you can “outsource” to your greater community.
- Email or fax letters, colored pictures, etc. to pass out to residents
- Plant flowers in pots for staff to put outside resident windows
- Sew masks for your senior living team or for your local hospital system or first responders
- Make and share playlists via Spotify for residents to enjoy in their rooms
- Donate materials via Amazon for independent leisure, such as puzzles, books via Audible, or adult coloring books
- Make bird feeders for you to hang outside for residents to see from their windows
- Fold origami creations and tuck in an envelope to mail to your community; you can pass them out to residents
- Make banners to hang around your community; they can get ideas here, here, or here.
- Organize a pet visit day where visitors can stroll their pet around the community so residents can see their furry friends (remember to set times for visits to ensure social distancing is happening)
- Post a Tik Tok dance challenge weekly and have the community show off their moves to residents via social media
- Host Quarantine Karaoke where the community can post a video of them singing favorite songs to your social media feed for residents to enjoy
- Write (and share via email) short stories or poems for residents to enjoy, a Town Story Workshop!
- Ask for submissions via social media or emailed video for a Town Talent Show. Residents can watch and vote for the winners
- Create new trivia questions or journaling prompts for your residents so that you and your team can focus on something else besides digging up new trivia books
- Create fun word searches and email them to you for residents to enjoy. They can use sites like this one.
- Create Mad Libs for residents to do in their rooms; share good ones via social media
- Make bright and happy wreaths for resident doors
- Create homemade stationery like blank cards or postcards
- Donate stamps residents can use to send out their snail mail to family or friends
- Design colorful flyers with encouraging phrases you can print out and post throughout the hallways
- Send in photos of nature that you can print out and post throughout the halls; your residents can go on a “nature walk scavenger hunt” you create
- Recommend topic-specific and appropriate podcasts or television shows that you can use to create themed “binge lists” for residents to enjoy in their rooms
- Put together easy and individual craft kits in a Ziploc bag for you to pass out to residents, or donate items via Amazon so that you can put together individual bags on site
- Record themselves reading short Bible or other spiritual verses along with encouraging words for residents to enjoy during devotional times
- Write “Dear Abby” style letters asking resident advice to help them through a specific problem or concern; residents will LOVE reading these as a group or individually and offering their wise advice
- Laminate Bingo sheets and other papers so that they can be easily wiped down for use in your community
Remember, any items that are brought into your community will need to be disinfected per your community’s policy.
How to Ask for Help
If you want help, you have to ask for it. You can rally support in your community by communicating your needs via:
- Family newsletter
- Electronic newsletter to your partners in the community
- Your community’s social media feed
- A press release or letter to the editor of your local newspaper
- Word-of-mouth via your staff
- Phone calls or emails to your volunteer roster
If you want to rally your community in the most efficient manner, try these tips:
- Ask for only one thing at a time, and give a deadline for when you need it
- Plan ahead of time how you will field questions or comments, including delegating the tasks if you need to
- Post a fun video to your social media feed featuring how you are utilizing donations or requests
- Use sites like Canva to create free images with your information you can use on your social media channels
- Have residents write thank-you notes to post online or in the mail
- If you have extras of your donations, call other senior living communities in your area to see if they want them. After all, we are all in this together.
How is your greater city, village, or town supporting your seniors during this pandemic? I’d love to hear about anything that is working for you to add to our collective list. Sending you and your seniors all the good and healthy vibes I can muster!