Forest Hill’s life enrichment team has created an innovative way to host safe bingo games

Residents were missing their favourite activity, so staff figured out how to bring it back to them

Bingo is a favourite activity among Forest Hill residents, and with no large-group activities being hosted at the Ottawa-area long-term care home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the life enrichment team has found a way to deliver the game in a way that meets safety protocols.

Life enrichment co-ordinator Craig Forrest and his team have been gathering small groups of residents on each of Forest Hill’s five floors every Thursday.

Residents are each handed a bingo card. Life enrichment team members are given walkie-talkies. The bingo caller will announce the balls as they come up. As the numbers come through on the two-way radios, life enrichment staff on all floors will help residents mark their cards.

“If a bingo is called on one floor, everyone will hold until we check the numbers,” Craig explains. “We keep track of who won and then we go around delivering prizes afterwards.”

While this may be an unorthodox way for bingo to be played, it has been a big hit with residents, Craig says.

“This has really worked well because (bingo) is one thing the residents were really missing.”

Craig says a major benefit from holding bingo games using this method is that the life enrichment team can engage many residents on all floors while adhering to safety protocols in place.

“We’ve been doing this once a week and it has been working well,” he says. “The residents really enjoy it and look forward to it.”

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