Bingo ushers open activities back into Walnut Hills

Bingo ushers open activities back into Walnut Hills

Image Credit: Dave Mast

On Wednesday, April 6, B-11, O-68 and I-17 welcomed a number of Walnut Hills residents back to the Troyer House for what was the return of in-person activities that allowed residents to once again gather and fellowship together.

A game of bingo, where more than $100 in gift cards and other prizes were handed out, provided an avenue for residents to converse and enjoy one another’s company after nearly two years of absence from such activities due to the pandemic.

Bingo was filled with all women who had a blast playing the games and sharing with one another to win some smaller prizes. For the day’s big prize, Jill Truman, COTA, director of rehabilitation in the therapy department, brought the grand prize, a SunParasol plant.

In addition to the bingo action, Truman spoke to the women about everything the rehab center does at Walnut Hills, touching on the department’s ability to provide occupational, speech and physical therapy disciplines.

She discussed how the department works with both residents and outpatients from the community, as well as assessing in-home therapy options that can benefit people at home.

“Our goal is to rehab people and get them back into their homes as quickly as possible or working with residents to allow them to do the everyday tasks that improve their lifestyle or helping them remember or process better,” Truman said.

She said Walnut Hills Rehabilitation Department is blessed with talented and caring people who provide a valuable service.

After she spoke, it was back to the final bingo game with a lunch following. It was a familiar scene that hasn’t been altogether familiar the past two years during the pandemic. Jodi Dean, marketing and admissions director, said getting back to these events is critical to the well-being of the residents.

“This is our first activity we have opened up to everyone since COVID, so we are excited and happy to see all of the happy faces and smiles gathering together to celebrate together,” Dean said. “It’s such a close-knit, beautiful community, and to be able to share with other people is something that I think we all needed to get back to.”

Walnut Hills had several groups that were meeting during the pandemic, but it was vastly different than the groups that gathered before COVID set in. Dean said seeing everyone able to congregate, celebrate and commune together made her heart grow three sizes.

“You can just imagine what being able to gather means to those who were unable to do so for so long,” Dean said. “We have a very close-knit community here, and getting together and enjoying each other’s company is a big part of the living experience here at Walnut Hills.”

Dean said sharing with one another is therapeutic and helps build healthier, happier residents, and the center is now planning plenty of other new activities like ice cream socials, developing a walking club and many more activities that will welcome community from outside Walnut Hills to connect with the residents.

What is important is the ability to visit with one another as residents, as well as welcoming in visitors from the community at large.

“It’s such a joy for our residents to be able to have visitors again who stop by just to say hello and to chat for a while,” Dean said. “Those types of interactions are critical to the well-being of the residents, and we are seeing that in the faces of the residents and the smiles on their faces as we see more and more people and groups stopping in to visit.”

Dean went on to talk about how churches have begun to make appointments to stop by and visit or provide worship Sunday mornings. She said as a faith-based facility, faith serves a big role at Walnut Hills, and connecting with area church groups has always been an important part of the operation of the facility.

Community outreach programs, having church groups in for singing and worship services, and sharing with others are picking up. She said while services were taking place during the pandemic, it wasn’t the same.

“We were fortunate, especially in the nursing home where we have a screened-in porch, so church groups could visit and worship with the residents outside while the residents were inside, but it wasn’t quite the same as having them come in and really make a connection with the residents,” Dean said. “Not having the masks on and having people singing and worshipping out loud is the best.”

Whether it is through activities like bingo or one of the many other community activities on tap or whether it is a Sunday worship time, getting back to a place where the residents can commune openly with the public and with one another is something that will have great health benefits for everyone involved, from residents to staff.


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