The Brandywine Living garden club harvests a bumper crop of kale. T-shirts, hats, or other identifying symbols help people feel like they’re part of a team and can increase inclusion and engagement.

Phillies gear for opening day, dog costumes for “the dog days of summer,” even Wizard of Oz characters. The community also subscribed to the

Philadelphia Orchestra and Philly Pops so they could livestream performances to residents’ rooms. “We did the absolute best we could to keep everyone as engaged and connected as possible,” Kaufman says.

Window visits and VR Many of the methods and ideas adopted during the pandemic have proven them-

selves to be worth keeping long-term. This is especially true for technology. New uses were found for existing technologies. New technologies were adopted by communities looking for workable solutions to engage- ment challenges. Commonwealth Senior Living found

that its Eversound headphone system was ideal for helping residents hear better when their families came for window visits. The company also decided to try something completely new to them: virtual reality. They began using MYNDVR in October

Amanda Clears, associate director of resident experience at Inspīr, finds that taking a person-centered approach is the key to true engagement. “Instead of going with what’s worked in the past when it comes to programming and engagement opportunities, you have to really start with the person,” she says. “What are the individual goals of the person, what’s fulfilling for them?”


2020 and plan to continue. It significantly improved motor skills and communication in memory care residents. “It was one of the best features that we

implemented during COVID,” says Paula Harder, VP of resident programming. At Trilogy Health Services, the existing SeniorTV service filled a communication gap, broadcasting the community infor- mation channel to residents as well as to families via an app, enabling quick and easy updates of news. It also could livestream on- site events into resident rooms. One of the highlights was a weekly staff

talent show that one of the communities arranged to entertain residents, who could vote for their favorite performances. Although Zoom was the king of pan-

demic technology, Kaufman found that distance learning and entertainment via Zoom were not successful in her commu- nity. What did work was using the platform to connect residents with family events they couldn’t attend in person, such as weddings and bar mitzvahs. They also communicat- ed with family and friends through Zoom and FaceTime.

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