Led by a strong sense of purpose, the staff at Clay County Care Center in Hayesville, NC, has responded to COVID-19 with creativity, spirit, and teamwork. Rosemary, the activities coordinator, summarized it well when she said, “We come together to make our residents’ lives happier and better.” 

Residents and patients at Clay County have an abundance of activities to choose from during social distancing. Some of these activities are designed to keep the residents in touch with their family and friends who are not able to visit in-person. For instance, residents sent cards to their family members that included photos of themselves. They wrote messages like “I miss you, I love you, and I am okay.” Another time, the staff also sent pictures of the residents holding a white board with messages to their loved ones.

One thing that sets Clay County apart from other care centers is their use of innovative technology during COVID-19. The care center participates in a program called IN2L, which uses computers to help seniors connect with the world around them. The care center has a 72-inch screen and two portable 24-inch screens that can be used anywhere in the care center. Residents are able to Skype using the screens and play games. 

Each resident also has something called “My Page” on the IN2L system, which is a collection of pictures and videos that are supplied by the family. The families are able to record specific messages that can be helpful when a resident needs a calming reminder that their family members are with them during quarantine. A donation of several flash drives from Walmart has enabled Clay County to send out flash drives to the families. The families load the flash drives with photos and videos for the residents. After the staff at Clay County uploads the media onto “My Page,” the flash drives are wiped clean and sent to the next family. Because of the generous donation, it doesn’t take long for all of the residents to have newly updated pages.

Clay County also has Senior TV, which allows them to program a channel which can be seen on all of the tvs in the building. The care center uses Senior TV to play a weekly movie throughout the building. Senior TV is also used for bingo games since the residents cannot gather in a group like usual. The care center created disposable bingo cards which are used for the twice-weekly games.

There’s a plethora of non-technology based activities ongoing at Clay County too, so there’s never a chance to get bored! They are fortunate to have a therapy dog on site five days a week. The dog travels room-to-room, brightening the day of those who choose to have a visit. Twice per week, the activities staff creates a booklet of word searches, coloring, trivia, and other activities which is distributed to each resident. Residents also receive manicures and nail care in their rooms. One activity associate, Rita, is doing hair one person at a time in place of the normal beauty shop schedule.

The list of creative activities goes on and on, but one message remains consistent through everything says Rosemary, “We have a good team, and that’s worth a wealth.” Thank you to the wonderful staff at Clay County for never running out of new creative ways to enrich the lives of our residents!

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