The seniors at the Woodland Care Center in Woodland are now able to exit their rooms when they want because of the decrease in COVID-19 cases and the residents spent part of that freedom celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on March 17.
Activities Director Joanna Gennick was happy to see the smiles of the seniors who partook in the annual festivities that were at one point just a memory due to lockdowns.
“We have a bunch of the St. Patty’s Day beads that we’ve been doing and we’re going to do a parade,” said Gennick. “They’ve all got their masks with green mustaches on them and their St. Patty’s Day headbands and such. We did a parade right down the halls, and we met in the large dining room for music, cupcakes and coffee. It was just a really good time.”
Since many of the residents grew up listening to The Beatles, Gennick said their music was played as a source of entertainment during the event. Gennick had tried to get a live band to perform, but that proved difficult because of vaccination requirements.
“We’re under different guidelines compared to everybody else. For instance, we still have to wear masks in here. I think it’s going to be that way for a while, but they did enjoy The Beatles CDs, so that’s nice,” Gennick stated. “It’s a different generation in here. I remember when I used to have to play ‘In the Mood’ by Glenn Miller.”
At the party, staff served cupcakes with green frosting, ice cream, punch with green sherbet, and cookies. They also decorated the center with green balloons, streamers, green mum flowers, and various table decorations.
“They’re all excited about their first holiday (outside their rooms). It’s not a big holiday, but it is to them because they’re out of their rooms,” Gennick said.
To add to the festivities, many of the women also painted their nails green.
The seniors played St. Patrick’s-themed bingo, which awarded gifts to the winners. Due to lockdowns, Gennick said there wasn’t a St. Patrick’s Day celebration in 2021. What makes this year’s celebration different compared to previous ones, according to her, are the masks.
“We can still eat and take our masks off in group settings, but we still have to be 6 feet apart,” she said. “They can all be in a group, but they can’t eat as a group.”
She elaborated that they can’t put tables together like they used to either.
Although there isn’t a large Irish population at the Woodland Care Center, “we’re all Irish at heart when it comes to St. Patty’s Day,” Gennick said. “(The seniors) have fun at all their celebrations. Anything that we do, they are so happy with. They’re just happy to have things to do. It’s better than sitting in their room and looking out a window.”
Gennick said the center also hosts a monthly birthday party, which is a celebration for all the seniors whose birthdays were in that month. As part of it, the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church of Woodland brings in two cakes. There’s a chocolate cake and an angel food cake, which Gennick said is for diabetic residents, as well as ice cream. The residents also receive birthday cards.
Aside from the St. Patrick’s Day celebration, Gennick mentioned the center will host an Easter egg hunt that will be held outside for the staff’s children. She said the event is a popular one, especially for the seniors who enjoy watching it.
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