Our hearts are with you as you handle the implications of this novel coronavirus. This can be a tough time for seniors that are used to their scheduled programming. Many communities are eliminating group gatherings, cancelling entertainment and lunch outings. This leaves dedicated Activity Directors to step into the breach. Because ensuring your seniors are feeling confident and valued is always job number one.

We know that relationships and social interactions help protect against illness by boosting the immune system. Without the zest of that social interaction, seniors can experience depression and other physical, emotional, and mental health issues. So, if they are surrounded by fast-talking, fast-moving care givers, that sense of isolation will only increase.

What to do?

First: slow down. Take time for meaningful one-on-one interactions.

If you are facing in-room visits only for a while, nothing is better or more portable than our Art Studies. Science tells us that when a person views art they find beautiful, it triggers an immediate release of dopamine into the brain, a chemical related to feelings of being loved. Sounds like the perfect antidote to loneliness and depression, right?

If you’re subscribed to The Purple Primer, there are several Art Studies in each topic every month. If not, here’s an Art Study to get you started. And another one to keep the ball rolling!

• Art appreciation doesn’t have to be complicated. Each Art Study has “Tips for leading an Art Study” built right in.

• Make extra copies of the art from the Art Study to leave behind after the discussion. Tape it up for better viewing and reflection if necessary.

•  If you or your staff are new to this – don’t worry! You’ll find that learning together as you go brings the most joy.

Still allowed to meet in groups, but have more time to fill than usual? We’ve got you covered.

Research shows that learning is an integrated process. When seniors learn about different aspects of a larger topic, it helps them make deeper connections.

• Consider making these Alphabet Poems three or more mornings in a row. The cognitive workout and the group accomplishment are merely side benefits to having fun!

• This study on the wonderful Language of Baseball can be broken into three separate sections to cover on consecutive days. Repeated, layered learning bears the greatest fruit.

• Take an “imagination vacation” to the Kingdom of Sweden! This hearty Primer Study can be broken up and discussed over an entire week. Have some maps handy and you’re on your way!

• What could be more universally fun that covering The History of Dogs for a few days with your folks. The stories they have to share about beloved pets is worth the price of admission here.

Finally, take care of yourselves. Our motto around here is: “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” These times will call for more of your creativity, energy and heart. So be sure to replenish that in your downtime. However that looks for you.