June 8

The Bright Side of Life, with a Twist

By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions

As we flipped our monthly calendar at home from May to June last week, I was reminded that Father’s Day is fast approaching. I have been blessed with many wonderful presents for my Birthday, Christmas and Father’s Day over the years from our three daughters. One, in particular, comes to mind as we continue to be impacted by all that is going on in the world in 2020.

For Father’s Day a number of years ago, I was treated to a performance of Monty Python’s musical comedy “Spamalot” at the Chicago Theatre.

One of the songs featured in the irreverent musical is “Always Look at the Bright Side of Life” written by Eric Idle. As the lyrics note, no matter how bad or rotten life is, always look on the bright side of life.

Or, as the Black Knight proclaims in the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” after he has lost his arms in a battle with King Arthur, “it’s just a flesh wound.”

What has helped me to remain positive and stay focused on the bright side of life with everything going on in the world are all of the great stories coming from the senior living, assisted living and memory care communities we manage and from comments and stories posted on the internet.

Here are just a few examples . . .

The creative ways the staff at the communities we manage have found to engage residents in social and wellness activities while maintaining proper social distancing, such as hallway exercise programs.

Offering opportunities for residents of the communities we manage to schedule times to connect with their families through cell phone and social media applications such as FaceTime, Microsoft Teams, Skype and Zoom.

Northern Illinois Hospice treated residents of Heritage Woods of Rockford to a pet parade. Residents were able to look out the windows of their apartments and watch as the pets paraded outdoors around the building. Music therapist Mallory Pannell joined the parade, singing and playing guitar.

Heritage Woods of Charleston, Illinois is posting “Story Time in the Woods” videos, featuring residents and staff reading children’s stories.

Always keep learning and be all you can be.

Residents of Heritage Woods of Charleston and Gull Creek in Berlin, Maryland offered advice from seniors to 2020 high school seniors. Here is a sampling of their insights:

            “Surround yourself with people who make you laugh.”

            “Value every day because they go fast.”

            “Remain positive and be happy.”

            “Hang in there; it will be over soon. Stick with your dreams.”

            “Get a job and love it. Make sure you get paid.”

“Work as hard as you can and be as kind as you can because both will help you when you’re older.”

Gull Creek celebrated National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day by giving residents the opportunity to taste a a variety of PB&J sandwiches.

Heritage Woods of Flora held a limerick writing contest for National Limerick Day.

Evergreen Village of Bloomington, Indiana, held its first outdoor Quarantine Concert under the Canopy. Residents enjoyed a wide range of musical numbers performed by Nathan Dillon on his acoustic guitar while sitting outside properly social distancing from each other.

Little Daddy performed an outdoor concert for residents of Heritage Woods of Manteno.

Pastor Dave Ludwig and Highpoint Church donated personal care items, puzzles, coloring books and notes of encouragement to Heritage Woods of Bolingbrook.

The local Girl Scout troop in Macomb, Illinois, did a drive-by parade for the residents at Grand Prairie. The daughter of a resident at Heritage of Yorkville organized a drive-by parade for residents of the community.

A story posted on the Good News network website highlighted an 82-year grandpa dancing with a broom because he was not going to let COVID-19 stop him from having fun.

A local day care center sent cards and artwork to residents of Heritage Woods of Mt. Vernon.

Carmen, a resident at Heritage Woods of Batavia, played “Taps” in honor of Memorial Day.

Carmen, a 98-year-old resident of Heritage Woods of Batavia, played “Taps” on one of his harmonicas to remember all of the Veterans who have passed away.

Delores, a resident of Heritage Woods of Ottawa who will be celebrating her 100th Birthday on June 15, recently completed a puzzle that appeared in the New York Times on June 15, 1920.

A post on the HuffPost website from 90-year-old guest writer Varda Yoran declared “I’m not disposable. I’m saddened that there are people who think age dictates whether a human life is worth saving.” She sculpts, writes, runs a foundation that she created to help immobile seniors and is organizing a philosophy club to discuss ethics, forgiveness, anger, creativity and other topics via Zoom.

A HealthDay story suggests that even a little activity can help keep an aging brain from shrinking.

To help brighten the day for residents of John Evans Supportive Living in Pekin, Illinois, the Tazewell County Sprinkle Fairies donated pots of flowers and Molina Healthcare delivered a box of word search and coloring books.

And, a resident of Heritage Woods of South Elgin put a little different twist on what to do when life hands you a bunch of lemons. “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade (and add SMIRNOFF).”

With that said, I am curious: What is helping you to stay positive and look on the bright side of life?

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