Fun theme days have helped carry West Lake Terrace through the pandemic

‘Everyone looks forward to them, and we always know they are going to be out of our norm for the day’

It’s amazing what a daylong, fun-themed program can do to keep morale high during a trying time.

Once a month, the West Lake Terrace team organizes a special day of fun centred on a theme, and residents and staff members alike cannot wait for the next one, says Janie Denard, the Prince Edward County long-term care home’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

Janie and nutritional care manager Diane King have been collaborating to create these special days each month to help residents and staff members have some fun and take their minds off the COVID-19 pandemic.

In July, the theme was a Hawaiian luau day, complete with a Hawaiian-themed lunch of barbecued pineapple-chicken kebabs with a Hawaiian macaroni salad and coconut cream pie for dessert.

In the afternoon, everyone watched the 1961 film Blue Hawaii, starring Elvis Presley.

A favourite themed day was a 1950s diner event in February. Residents and staff enjoyed burgers, hot dogs, fries and onion rings served in baskets lined with checkered paper.

A highlight of that day was resident Elwood Lewis donning a black leather jacket and sunglasses to play the part of Fonzie from Happy Days perfectly, right down to giving the thumbs-up, and his “aaayyy!” was spot-on, Janie said at the time.

Janie says these monthly themed events have become such a bit hit with residents and staff members that everyone at West Lake Terrace waits on the edge of their seats for the next one to come around.

“Everyone looks forward to them, and we always know they are going to be out of our norm for the day – and it’s all hands on deck.”

Janie notes that there is a group of personal support workers who have taken it upon themselves to be the costume managers as soon as a theme day has been chosen.

“They go on to Amazon and order the outfits and help organize the events – they get just as excited about it as the residents, which works really well because it boosts the morale in the home for everyone,” she says.

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