Maplewood residents ‘loved’ visit from roller-skating nurse

‘Most of them were so excited; they hadn’t seen a pair of roller skates for years’

Registered practical nurse (RPN) Laura Lawless brought lots of fun, laughter and fond memories to Maplewood residents recently when she “rolled” into their rooms during one of the Brighton, Ont. long-term care home’s travelling entertainment programs.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, life enrichment aide Rosanne Blackburn created the travelling programs to ensure residents got the engagement they needed without having to leave the safety of their rooms.

Travelling programs see team members visiting residents in their rooms for one-to-one activities geared to residents’ interests.

Laura, a roller skater who has competed in roller derbies, volunteered to put on her skates to show residents who “loved” the gesture, says administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator Rachel Corkery.

“A couple of them said, ‘you are going to fall,’ but (I told them) I’m a professional,” Laura explains, noting that bringing something new like this to residents makes a positive difference to them.

Laura and Rosanne – who isn’t a roller-skater – went room to room on Aug. 11 to visit residents. Laura also went to the dining room to show a group of residents her roller skates.

The experience brought back fond memories of going to roller rinks for some residents, Laura says.

Laura also recalls how before the pandemic started, one resident went to watch her and her team during one of their roller derbies in Trenton.

Laura joined a roller derby team about a year and a half before the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, but because it’s a close-contact sport her league put the derbies on hold to help stop the spread of the virus.

Laura says it was a thrill for her to put her roller skates back on to bring some fun and laughter to the residents.

“Most of them were so excited; they hadn’t seen a pair of roller skates for years,” she says.

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