When our committed to caring committee members began the planning process for this year’s challenge we decided to interview as many residents as we could in order to try to determine what they dreamt of being able to do. A very common yet simple request that our residents gave us was that they wanted something “good to eat”. Although, the food at our facility is very good many of our residents expressed a desire to have food to eat from outside of the building. Since we had so many residents express this we decided to have a big cook out to celebrate the coming of spring and call it our Spring Fling. The committee purchased all of the food from outside of the facility and one committee member grilled everything. We had hamburgers and a much loved favorite option of ribs for our residents. We provided all of the fixings to make the residents feel like they were back home at a family cookout. Last, but not least, we got a cake from the bakery because our residents definitely love their sweets. We decorated our outdoor courtyard with plenty of spring decorations in effort to brighten the resident’s day. We tried to get as many decorations as possible that could be left in the courtyard and benefit the residents all year long. We brought our residents and their family members outside where they got to eat their cookout food, enjoy the smell of food cooking on the grill and of course the lovely weather. One of our committee members also brought out equipment to DJ the cookout. We had staff dancing which really made our residents smile and even made some of our residents dance as well! The residents that participated talked about the cook out for days afterwards. Our committee really wanted to make this cookout happen because we felt it was a great way to do something special for all of our residents. It was a great success.
In addition, we had a few residents express a desire to go to the aquarium. We took four residents to the Georgia aquarium for the day. Our residents got a front seat to all of the exhibits as the aquarium is very handicap friendly. We ate lunch at the café at the aquarium which the residents enjoyed very much. The residents got to see many varieties of fish, otters, whales and dolphins. Our residents told us that their favorite part of the trip was the dolphin show which was very exciting. One resident even said it made him feel like he was back at SeaWorld again. As a staff member, it was really great to get out in the community and interact with others. We were able to tell people about our facility and show them that we really go the extra mile to put a smile on our residents’ faces.
Last but not least, our committee decided to start a resident garden. Being in a rural community we have many residents who grew up on farms or had a garden all of their life. Many of our residents have expressed having a hobby of gardening. We took advantage of our beautiful courtyard area and helped the residents plant flowers, tomatoes, peppers, squash and herbs. This dream will be continued throughout the year through the activity department hosting a weekly garden club. Judging by the smiling faces and fun stories that our residents are still telling today, as a committee we feel this year’s challenge was a huge success.