It’s March 2020, and Brightview Senior Living communities are bustling with spring programming. “March is always a big month with St. Patrick’s Day, Mardi Gras, Lent, and other activities,” Taylor Hosier, Vibrant Living Director from Brightview Bel Air, said. “It’s a busy month jampacked with events.”
Suddenly, the country started going into lockdown. “We were doing Happy Hour on March 13 when I got a text to shut it down,” Mary Long, Brightview Baldwin Park’s Vibrant Living Director, said. In the days following, new regulations and COVID-19 infection control protocols completely changed everyday life for the entire country – and the normal flow of vibrant living activities at Brightview Senior Living.
Vibrant living is a Brightview Senior Living core philosophy that puts resident health and happiness at the forefront of our communities. Social interaction and participating in creative activities are critical in keeping seniors’ minds sharp. Regular physical activity helps with balance, brain health, and better sleep. Therefore, pandemic or not, limiting vibrant living in our communities was not an option.
“We were determined to be bigger than COVID,” Mary said. “We pushed ourselves harder to do more.”
The question was how to reach and engage as many residents as possible given health and safety regulations. Communities quickly adapted and were resourceful in creating engaging, enjoyable programming. Roving bar carts stopped at resident apartments for in-home happy hours. Residents enjoyed Wii golf games set up on a traveling system from the safety of their doorway. Some communities had families join in events, like cooking nights and sip and paints, via Zoom. Associates dressed up for special occasions and handed out games, gifts, and treats.
As communities could hold group programs, the Vibrant Living team started doubling or tripling popular events to accommodate all interested residents. At Brightview Baldwin Park, a Dining Services associate started leading sing-a-longs during happy hour. “Everyone used their individual talents to contribute to our programming,” Mary said.
Residents continued to play a large role in planning activities with the Vibrant Living team. “During the pandemic, they had even more say,” Taylor said. “With regulations on events, I wanted to make sure the time they got to spend with each other was beneficial.”
Also, having more one-on-one connections with residents in their apartments helped encourage them to participate in other events. “Some residents who didn’t do as many activities now wanted to be part of them,” Taylor said.
As our country continues deploying vaccines on a mass scale, many feel hopeful for the excitement and energy of pre-pandemic life to return. For Brightview, “vibrancy never left the community,” Taylor said. “It looked different, but it never left. Our residents were courageous and resilient in dealing with the changes.”
Mary agreed, adding that the Brightview team has come out from the past year stronger. “At the end of the day, somehow, it made us better. The pandemic was a worst-case scenario, but it made us dig deeper.”
Our Vibrant Living teams are busy preparing more inspiring and engaging activities in our communities. Schedule your personal visit, and see what our communities have in store this spring!
Brightview Senior Living builds, owns, and operates award-winning vibrant senior living communities in eight states along the East Coast: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. We offer senior Independent Living, Assisted Living, Enhanced Care, and Wellspring Village®, a specialized neighborhood for people living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Schedule a personal visit to experience our communities firsthand.