Coming up with innovative programming isn’t a pandemic response at Paddock Ridge—it’s a way of life.
While we’ve all been staying home, social distancing and taking extra precautions, many of us have gotten a little lonely, stir crazy or just plain bored. At Ocala’s premier assisted living and memory care residence, they haven’t been able to go on outings around town or have visitors, so the staff got creative with high-tech and low-tech innovations to keep residents entertained and in touch with their loved ones.
Seniors may not all have smartphones or computers, but at Paddock Ridge that doesn’t mean they can’t stay connected to their families. When Florida assisted living communities were closed to visitors, the care team quickly came up with a new way to facilitate family visits—video calls.
“They’ve loved that capability,” says Director of Operations Cody Mansfield, explaining that, by appointment, the staff help residents connect to Skype, which is included in their IN2L (It’s Never Too Late) program and is one of a wide variety of applications to interest senior citizens. From the comfort of their own room, the resident can see and talk to their loved ones for as long as they like.
“It’s heartwarming to see them connected,”
Mansfield continues. “You look and the family’s all there, you can see the room in the background with their family photos. It really helps.”
Terri Young, whose mother, Margie Jacques, lives at Paddock Ridge, has relied on these video calls to check in with her mom while she’s not allowed to visit, and she appreciates being able to see her live rather than just making phone calls.
“Thank you, Paddock Ridge, for giving us a glimpse of our loved ones every now and then,” was her message to the staff. “It’s much appreciated! Stay healthy and safe.”
Paddock Ridge’s Garden Club is more popular than ever. With raised beds, including height-adjusted, handicap-accessible beds, assisted living and memory care residents can enjoy some fresh air, sunshine and a little “dirt therapy”—even while social distancing.
“Gardens are in every neighborhood now,” Mansfield relays. “The residents love it. They grow herbs and tomatoes and lettuce and enjoy caprese salads with the ingredients they grow.”
Gardening is a fun way for men and women to keep their bodies and minds active, he explains, revealing that the memory care residents especiallyenjoy the opportunity.
“It’s therapeutic for them,” he explains. “They need to feel and touch things to remember, and planting and putting their hands in the dirt is just perfect.”
What started as a whimsical activity back in February for Mansfield and his friend turned into a colorful, interactive display now located in the activities room. “Brickfield” is the intricate, 6-feet long, 4-feet high Lego city they constructed over three months, winning one of Marion County Parks and Recreation’s weekly Lego Master Builders challenges and bringing the residents of Paddock Ridge a welcome diversion.
“We decided to make it for the residents prior to COVID-19,” says Mansfield. Along the way, he sent photos to his grandmother, who enjoyed them so much he brought her some smaller Lego sets to build.
“The projects were a great distraction during her self-isolation, and I realized the residents would love this. And it’s been a hit. We have a scavenger hunt and a contest to guess how many Legos are in it. It gets the residents thinking about their childhood or their kids’ childhood or their grandchildren and they all smile. The whole reason we did this was to bring them some joy.”
Even with pandemic restrictions in place, you are invited to set up a personal “virtual tour.” No matter what’s going on in the world, when you or your loved are ready to transition to assisted living or memory care, they’ll be ready to welcome you home to Paddock Ridge.
4001 SW 33rd Court, Ocala FL 34474