Your loved one is important to you, so it’s natural to have concerns about his or her care, safety and overall well-being. The article “Top Concerns of People with Parents in Senior Care Facilities” shares the reality that families are often uncomfortable with “strangers” caring for their loved ones. But, at Shannondale, we strive to provide peace of mind, and for those currently residing in Shannondale’s Assisted Living and Health Care Center in Knoxville, those worries are minimal. Our staff is highly committed to each resident. A shining example of this “love in action” is the Shannondale Activities Team that serves both Circles of Care.
Collectively, the members of the Activities Team have over 40 years of experience. They are all trained in art therapy and work to brighten each day for every resident. Mandy Lewis, a certified dementia practitioner, leads this amazing team of cheerleaders. Melissa Cave, Traci Precord, Adrian Arthur, Kaycie Beckwith, and Elizabeth Lawson round out the team of Activity Champions.
The team is truly celebrating that COVID cases are down, and family restrictions have been lifted. It was a challenge to do everything for the resident social and emotional wellness without the partnership of family members. Together they are stronger, and residents are happier.
Once again, the servants’ hearts reign supreme among the Shannondale staff, and the true love for their job and the residents shines through the words and actions of this team. They describe the culture at Shannondale as very loving, family-like and one of mutual respect. They know that families trust them to care for their loved ones, and that in many cases, it was a last resort for families to place their loved ones in a community outside of a family home.
The Activities Team describes their work as a two-way street, sharing the fact that they receive much more from the residents than what they give. Each person on the Activities Team has an assigned group of residents. They make sure to connect with each one in their group daily. If a team member is away from work, the other team members use detailed notes to check in on the absent team member’s residents while they are gone.
The Shannondale Activities Team serves the residents of Assisted Living and the Health Care Center, Monday-Friday. They also brighten the lives of the residents at WellPark, Monday-Thursday of each week. Each week a new calendar of events is circulated to each resident’s room and posted in common areas.
There is science behind everything that the Activities Team does, with the goal of bringing fun, healthy interactions into the residents’ lives. They strive to emulate normalcy as much as possible for their residents. This team puts empathy and emotion into everything they do, and they are excellent at reading what residents need.
Activity Team members share in the brainstorming and creating activities. They also ask for input from residents. For example, they distributed a survey to the residents at the Assisted Living Center asking for preferences, as well as activity likes and dislikes. They are pleased to say they are meeting all those resident requests through their work.
Not only are they committed to group activities like Movie Monday, Wacky Wednesday, Bible study, and weekly church services, but they are also motivated to customize and create individualized activities for residents who need structure. Innovatively, they operate the Shannondale “Channel 12” so all residents can watch and participate from their private room if gathering with others isn’t best for them. They eagerly make any accommodations needed so each resident can successfully complete projects and activities as independently as possible.
The activities are always evolving and too numerous to name in their entirety. A few favorites of staff and residents include:
Shannondale was a recipient of a Tennessee Person-Centered Music Program grant from the state of Tennessee. Through this funding, the team can provide music to residents through in-person guest musicians, personalized musical selections on iPads and headphones. The team describes how powerful it is to hear a resident who does not talk, sing an entire song.
Lima Bean Auction
This annual event is a big hit. All residents are given 20 lima beans. During the auction, residents use their 20 beans to bid on items of interest.
Keith McCord, the team’s administrator, even gets in on the fun by hosting once a month meeting with the men. During Man Cave gatherings, the men in attendance share snacks, drinks and enjoy conversation with one another.
Nearly Beer Happy Hour
During these fun activities, residents are served snacks, and alcohol-free drinks that include ginger beer, root beer and “dirty” Dr. Pepper. Many residents can’t go out to happy hour, the “happy” is brough to them.
Many residents do not leave the facilities, so the Activities Team provides opportunities for them to shop on-site. The team hosts Flea Markets, Holiday stores and more where residents can select items of interest to keep or share with loved ones.
Every Friday, team members bake bread on each side of every floor. Residents get to enjoy the comforting smell of bread baking and then enjoy it with butter or jam.
We Are Artists
As trained art therapists, the Activities Team members lead art activities with the residents. As with every activity, residents can join a group or participate individually in their room.
In addition to those activities highlighted above, Tammi leads a once-a-month yoga session, hosts tea parties and so much more. Activities Team members are also “costume enthusiasts” and can often be found dressed up to the delight of the residents and other staff members. On any given day you might find the Queen of Hearts and her Playing Cards or Santa and the Elves roaming the halls of Shannondale.
The enthusiasm, passion and dedication of the Shannondale of Knoxville Activities Team is heart-warming and inspiring. The other staff members, residents and families are grateful for them. We look forward to highlighting the Shannondale of Maryville Activities Team soon.
If you are considering a move for a loved one or yourself, reach out to schedule a visit today.