Photo courtesy of Aegis Queen Anne on Galer: Aegis Living Queen Anne Galer resident Ralph Insee sits at the piano with Health Services Director Kristin Stewart, RN. The assisted living and memory care facility staff has been getting creative to make life enriching to residents, including one-on-one walks outdoors, music therapy and concerts and using technology to connect residents with each other and friends and family.
Photo courtesy of Aegis Queen Anne on Galer: Aegis Living Queen Anne Galer resident Ralph Insee sits at the piano with Health Services Director Kristin Stewart, RN. The assisted living and memory care facility staff has been getting creative to make life enriching to residents, including one-on-one walks outdoors, music therapy and concerts and using technology to connect residents with each other and friends and family.

Aegis Living Queen Anne Galer staff are doing what they can to make life for their residents as enriching as possible, while still maintaining safety practices during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

From using technology to music, Aegis Living Queen Anne Galer general manager Kaylan Moore said caretakers and staff at the assisted living and memory care facility are navigating the best they know how to keep residents connected and engaged in these uncertain times.

The goal, she said, is to shine brightness in what would otherwise be a very dark time.

“We’re finding ways and reasons to celebrate every single day,” Moore said.

 

Music plays a big part of that celebration and maintaining a sense of community, while keeping residents active and engaged.

 

“Music is one of those things that can reach across all experiences and levels for our residents here,” music therapist Kaylee Tilton said.

 

One way Tilton brings music to the residents is in one-on-one therapy sessions in their apartments. The in-home therapy Tilton provides is based on residents’ skills and needs. Often it involves helping a resident with what they are dealing with that day though song.

 

“Using a medium that doesn’t require language can be really helpful in connecting, and music is just really accessible to everyone,” Tilton said.

 

Residents are also encouraged to get involved through a hallway concert series, where Tilton and an intern lead residents gathered in their doorways in song. A recent event featured Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” Tilton and her assistant also acted as “traveling troubadours” during another special event, Motown Monday Happy Hour, which featured Motown classics and drinks served from a happy hour cart to residents, who gathered at the threshold of their doorways.

Tilton said the events bring a sense of normalcy and fun.

“We’re trying to figure out how to do more of that,” Moore said.

Tilton also recorded some old-time favorite songs for Aegis Live, a hosted entertainment show that features music, exercise segments, trivia questions, jokes and a game show similar to the Price is Right.

Aegis Live is produced by Aegis Living staff and is streamed into residents’ apartments at all the facilities.

Moore said she is proud that Aegis Living has staff that can produce the content for Aegis Live and also live stream it into apartments “to keep residents connected and engaged to something bigger” and “create moments of joy and happiness.”

Technology has played a key role in keeping the residents connected with each other and family and friends.

One of the positive aspects of living at an assisted living facility is residents make friends and build a camaraderie with one another, Moore said.

Friendships and camaraderie are not supportable in the ways they were before, however, and neither are visits from family and friends outside the facility.

To help overcome that obstacle, Aegis Living sent tablets to all of their facilities, and Queen Anne Galer staff members familiarized themselves with using group video and group calling programs  such as Skype and FaceTime to help fill the voids and loneliness residents may be experiencing, Moore said.

“It’s actually amazing to see what we’ve been able to accomplish in such a short time,”  Moore said, adding staff will continue to use technology even after the pandemic is over.

Using FaceTime and Skype, staff and residents have celebrated everything from cancer remissions to birthdays in special ways.

“We’ve gotten really crafty about it because we don’t want anything to go by uncelebrated or unnoticed,” Moore.

Technology also played a big part of a happy hour event Friday. One resident, Jack, really likes hot dogs and is a fan of Joey Chestnut, a competitive eater, Moore said.

Staff tweeted Chestnut telling him about Jack and the happy hour with hot dogs. Chestnut replied with a video wishing Jack and his friends well.  At the happy hour, residents watched the video on a tablet and ate hot dogs at the same time.

“So it’s kind of like Jack is hosting happy hour, and that’s just a really neat thing to do so they can all have that moment,” Moore said.

Little celebrations like the happy hour with hotdogs and a video from a competitive eater are sustaining residents and staff at this time, she said.

“It’s amazing how these things can just grow and evolve and turn into something really beautiful,” Moore said.