Seniors ‘travel’ to Hawaii for Nursing Home Week

PALM TREES: Mary Strong, a resident at Metron of Big Rapids, makes a palm tree out of Mandarin oranges, a banana and kiwi slices during at activity Wednesday for Nursing Home Week. (Pioneer photo/Candy Allan)

PALM TREES: Mary Strong, a resident at Metron of Big Rapids, makes a palm tree out of Mandarin oranges, a banana and kiwi slices during at activity Wednesday for Nursing Home Week. (Pioneer photo/Candy Allan)

BIG RAPIDS — Vacation photos taken poolside while wearing sunglasses can be a lovely memento of a trip, but they also can be reminders of virtual trips and good times with friends.

Seniors living at Metron of Big Rapids made leis and posed for snapshots in front of a tropical background on Wednesday morning for Hawaii day, part of the observance of Nursing Home Week. In the afternoon, they had a tropical-themed snack and watched staff members go head-to-head in a hula-hooping demonstration.

“Nursing Home Week is very special for us,” said Amanda Hanna, BSN, unit manager for long-term care at Metron. “This week celebrates the unique environment our residents live in.”

Each department plans activities for residents that fit within the theme, Hanna said. This year, staff members chose traveling and the world for their theme.

“Our residents can’t get out for the most part,” she said. “This is our way of taking the world they can’t get to and trying to bring it to them while making it an enjoyable experience.”

While residents’ families visit as often as they can, many residents see staff members most frequently and think of staffers as part of their families, Hanna added. Activities like the hula-hooping contest let residents and staff alike share a laugh and brighten the day for the seniors.

Each day featured a different destination, with Monday focusing on national parks, Tuesday on Ireland, Thursday on Italy and Friday on Mexico. Residents even received homemade “passports” from staff members, who wrote in notes and added stickers to help the seniors remember the activities they’d enjoyed.

EXAMPLE PLATE: Melisa Taghon, RN, unit manager of the rehab unit at Metron of Big Rapids, shows a resident a completed palm tree made of Mandarin oranges, banana and kiwi slices. Residents made the tropical-themed snacks on Wednesday as part of Nursing Home Week. (Pioneer photo/Candy Allan)

EXAMPLE PLATE: Melisa Taghon, RN, unit manager of the rehab unit at Metron of Big Rapids, shows a resident a completed palm tree made of Mandarin oranges, banana and kiwi slices. Residents made the tropical-themed snacks on Wednesday as part of Nursing Home Week. (Pioneer photo/Candy Allan)

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Posted by Candy Allan

Candy is the Pioneer's associate editor. She also coordinates the Family & Friends, Religion and Parenting pages. She can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8386 or by e-mail at callan@pioneergroup.com.

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