Little things like activity enrichment can make a huge difference in the lives of the Shannondale of Maryville residents. The Shannondale of Maryville Activities Team views their purpose as providing life enrichment for the well-loved Shannondale retirement community in Maryville. This team serves residents across the continuum of care in Independent Living, Assisted Living and the Health Care Center.
Jen Krueger, Kendra Smotherman and Rochelle Skaar make up the Shannondale of Maryville Activities Team and they have been serving beside one another for a little over a year. Both Kendra and Rochelle left previous careers of 30 plus years to join this team. Jen, the team leader, has been working in this arena for more than eight years. By their own admission, the team gets along extremely well, has so much fun and shares their collective and individual gifts with the residents. This culture of life enrichment allows the residents to open up and have more fun.
The Shannondale of Maryville Activities Team demonstrates the same servant’s heart as other previously interviewed Shannondale of Knoxville and WellPark employees. Their collective goal is to make every day the best day for their residents. They describe their work as “much more than a job, spending time with your extended family, and hoping to make each resident’s day their best day yet.” It’s all about the residents, their needs and how the team can serve them.
As a team they host a variety of activities; a combination of pre-planned group adventures and the “little things” like filling up someone’s bird feeder, selecting a book or bringing someone a magnifying glass. Each team member has their favorite activities and talents. Together they make a well-rounded team and complement one another well.
Outdoors for the win!
Kendra loves to lead outside activities. She started a garden in spring 2022, with tomatoes, cucumbers, flowers and herbs. Kendra describes gardening as a big learning curve for everyone. The residents help plant, and enjoy garden parties together.
Music to their ears!
Rochelle loves musical activities. She plays the piano regularly for residents who suffer from dementia. The Activities Team bought a new keyboard which provides music in church/bible study. Rochelle also plays the keyboard around lunch time. Music is a meaningful way to reach residents who may not participate in other activities.
Animals bring the love!
Jen loves all activities that involve animals. Trained habit dogs come visit with the residents. The Activities Team has also hosted STAR and their mini ponies are a huge hit with everyone. In addition to planned activities, if a resident has a dog that wants to come visit them, they can visit outside.
In addition to team member favorites, parties are always a big hit. The team dresses up and hosts a monthly themed dinner at the retirement center. Some of the recent themes have been French, Western, University of Tennessee Volunteer and Halloween. Birthdays are always something to celebrate. The residents are acknowledged during the monthly party during their birth month.
Other Resident Favorites
Thrive Art for Life
All Shannondale of Maryville Activities Team members are certified in Thrive Art for Life. Once a month the residents are invited to watch a video that teaches professional painting techniques with high quality materials. Painting with watercolors is the current favorite Art for Life enrichment.
There are also the standard favorites like Bingo, travel videos, field trips and storytelling. Bingo takes place twice a week. Kendra and friends are excellent storytellers and share tales with the residents. The residents love to people-watch so field trips are always a winner, too. A recent favorite was a trip to see the fall leaves with a lunch to follow in Townsend.
Intergenerational activities are a popular and meaningful source of life enrichment for seniors. Most of these activities happen throughout the summer with Coulter Grove Intermediate School in Maryville City Schools and randomly throughout the year with Maryville Christian School and youth choirs for Serve Day Projects. The exceptional Activities team develops lesson plans designed to engage and inspire the students, ages 6-16. Several examples are highlighted below:
The team recently led an empathy lesson with a group of seventh graders. The students were assigned a common impairment such as hearing loss, vision loss and loss of fine motor skills. They were given ear plugs, goggles with Vaseline, gloves, etc. and were asked to complete a series of tasks. What seemed simple at first became increasingly difficult with their assigned impairment. Afterwards, they discussed how this impairment made them feel and how this will help them to relate to the residents they will meet.
Veteran’s Day breakfast
Cub Scout Pack 88 hosted a Veterans Day breakfast on-site for veterans living at Shannondale. The youth sat with the residents and heard their stories. This activity yielded two-way understanding and enhanced appreciation.
Getting to Know You Bingo
During these visits, the students work together in small groups and are given a Bingo card with various questions to ask residents. The youth go door-to-door and try to get as many residents to answer questions as possible to get a Bingo. This helps to serve as an ice breaker tool to encourage conversation between the youth and residents. Afterwards, there is a talk with the kids about what they learned about our residents. They always come away from this activity with positive surprise at how nice the residents are and a “favorite” resident they want to go back to and visit again. There is usually a fun craft made after this, that the kids can deliver it to a resident that they met.
From time to time, visiting groups of students working on inspirational sidewalk chalk art. They create pictures, sayings and jokes for the residents and campus visitors to enjoy.
This Activities Team is all about facilitating life enrichment and learning…with one another, the residents and visiting groups. They highlighted these powerful lessons that they have learned from the residents:
Living each day. Each day is a gift.
We all have an important story to tell.
The end of life is no less important than the beginning, middle or anytime.
Life and happiness are all about making something out of nothing.
The Shannondale Activities Teams in Knoxville and Maryville collaborate and share ideas. Although the size and location of their campuses differ, the top-notch delivery of quality activities and true commitment to residents are what they have in common.
Call Shannondale today to schedule your visit and see the Maryville Activities Team in action. Get ready… you may need to plant in the garden or dress up for a themed dinner and one thing for sure…it will be fun!