by Lynn Colburn / photos by Lynn Colburn
National Skilled Nursing Care Week, May 8-13, is sponsored by the American Health Care Association (AHCA). It is a week set aside to recognize those who work in skilled nursing centers and serve senior citizens as well as adults with disabilities.
Kristi Smith, director of business development for Jacksonville Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, 1517 W. Walnut St., says, “We have been having a themed day every day this week. We celebrate the week every year with our residents as well as our staff since it also coincides and overlaps with Hospital Week and Nurses Week.”
Of course, this year it all seems bigger after several years of limited access to the community and families due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Hope McDonald, activities director, scheduled all the activities during the week. “Hope does this for them and has an amazing program to make games interactive for both physical therapy and fun,” says Smith. “She does a lot of training and goes to seminars and finds out about these programs and then we raise money to be able to bring them into our building — and with COVID, we haven’t been able to get out into the community like we used to do, so these programs have been great.”
At one table, Miss Mary, one of the residents, demonstrates one of the games residents were playing. The games doubled as rehab therapy. By holding a green ball, raising it and squeezing, Mary triggers a slot machine on a computer that makes the virtual slot spin. “If it lands on three monkeys,” Mary explains as she just misses the three monkeys by one slot, “we win a t-shirt.”
They had bingo and basketball games on the computer as well. Basketball is Mary’s favorite. Mary is a long-term resident who has been with Jacksonville Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation for six years. Smith says, “We are family, aren’t we Miss Mary!” Mary answers her as she concentrates on her game, “Yes.”
Smith says, “Sunday, we did a Mother’s Day Tea with our residents and their families as well. Monday was Carnival Day for staff and residents, and we had snow cones and funnel cakes, cake pops, a donut bar, popcorn, carnival games and the petting zoo. Tuesday was Rockin’ ‘50s Sock Hop and we did ‘50s music, milkshakes, trivia, costume contest and hula hoop. Wednesday was Wild, Wild West Day and we did a cookout, western wear, square dancing and a roping contest. Thursday was manicure and pedicures for Spa Day, and Friday was Casino Day with a photo booth, playing games as well as the pie-in-the-face portion.”
Smith explains, “We had jars out with all our managers’ names on them, 12 of us. Everyone got to vote by putting money in the jars and whoever got the most money in their jar was going to get the pie in the face to raise money for our activities department. But some residents will also get to throw pies and even some staff today, so it should be quite fun for all. As long as you are a manager, you may as well figure you are going to get pied today,” Smith says laughing. She was later pied in the face by Miss Mary.
State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer attended the event as a special guest and threw the first pie in the face of the smiling executive director Stephanie Smith. Smith even volunteered for a second pie in the face and Shirley, another resident, stepped up to do the honors. Even after several pies in the face, Smith was smiling and chatting with residents. Everyone was laughing and chatting as the day’s events proceeded. Smith later pied one of her own staffers in the face as the fun continued.
Casino Day and all the themed days that week were a success according to the residents and staff. “We had lots of fun,” says Miss Mary, who took her turn throwing a few pies that day. There must be some softball in her background because she hit where she was aiming (McDonald and Smith) from the farthest distance!
Jacksonville Skilled Nursing and Rehab is a community of expert professionals and dedicated staff serving the Jacksonville community through specialized therapy services and rehabilitative care; they provide services such as long-term care, short-term care, rehabilitation and more. The facility has semi-private suites, lounges, a spacious courtyard, patio and more. Also, if that week’s activities are anything to go by, the 24/7 skilled nursing team and staff obviously work hard at keeping their residents having fun.
Smith says, “We hope now that some restrictions have been lifted, that we will be able to do more community-involved activities with our residents again moving forward. We have all missed it.”