Hazel was half-way through a movie on her new Netflix account that John had set up for them when there was a knock on the door. “Hi there Hazel, are you heading down to paint eggs? I think it starts in about 20 minutes.” Millie had a carton of eggs in her quilted bag that she carried everywhere with her and was grinning from ear to ear.
Hazel didn’t really want to paint eggs. It had been years since she had done it with the grandkids, and sitting around a table dipping eggs into food colouring seemed a little childish and boring. But she didn’t have the heart to ruin Millie’s good spirits by telling her exactly how she felt about it all. “I’m not sure Millie, I’m watching this movie about a man that gets trapped on Mars…it has that good looking fellow in it that I like.” Millie’s shoulders slumped a little. Hazel could tell she was disappointed. “Oh, ok then. Are you sure though? Natalia is leading the class. I think it will be a lot of fun.” Hazel held back her eye roll. She would often read about the activities planned on the monitors throughout the community, but had little interest in them. They seemed slightly kindergarten-ish. That being said, she looked at her dear friend who clearly had the wind taken out of her sails. How long would plunking eggs in a few bowls take? “Ok, let me see if I have any eggs.” Hazel turned towards the kitchen, but was called back to the door by Millie. “Oh, don’t worry Hazel, I have plenty for us both!”
Hazel and Millie made their way into the activity room, Millie enthusiastically and Hazel almost reluctantly. Natalia, one of the other residents, was at the front of the room with an assortment of candles, waxes and other strange implements. “I thought we were dying eggs today?,” Hazel whispered to Millie. “We are…Natalia is going to teach us how to do psyanky.” Hazel’s eyes lit up. “You mean those really pretty Ukranian eggs? I have ALWAYS wanted to learn how to do that.” Millie smiled with a twinkle in her eye and giggled. “Me too!”
Natalia walked the ladies through the process step by step, starting first with drawing out the designs in pencil, and then using a tool called a kistka to apply wax intricately to the eggs. Little by little, the eggs went into the bowls of dye, and more wax would be added to build up multiple layers of the design. Hazel grew a little frustrated with the shakiness of her hands, but overall, found herself really enjoying the overall process. A few of the ladies across the table had given up on the intricacies of it all and had traded patience for fun, chatting away and joking about their silly designs.
After quite some time, Hazel’s egg was finally done. It was a simple striped design with some stars she had etched into the dye using vinegar. “That’s quite lovely,” Natalia said as she passed by Hazel’s finished work. “I had a lot of fun doing this.” Millie chimed in, “See, and you almost didn’t come down because you wanted to watch your moon man instead.” The ladies all had a bit of a chuckle. “Well, to be honest, I really didn’t know what to expect. Some of these activities, when you read about them, seem a little…juvenile,” Hazel admitted sheepishly. “I had no idea…I guess I should get out more!” Natalia nodded. “You should. Some of the programs are really great. They bring in an art instructor on Fridays who teaches oil painting. It’s a lot of fun. I have a painting I’ve been working on for the past few months that is turning out very well. I’m going to give it to my daughter for her birthday.” Mille added, “And I go to yoga twice a week. I really like it and it makes me feel good. And the young man that teaches the class is easy on the eyes if you get my drift.” Again, the ladies chuckled like school girls. “Well, maybe I’ll have to check more of these activities out,” Hazel thought aloud. She took her little egg and wrapped it up in some tissue and headed upstairs to show Charlie her masterpiece.
Happy Easter to you and yours! In this week’s issue, Hazel learned that not all community activities are created equal. More and more, seniors housing programs are resident-focused and sometimes even led by the residents themselves. Many activities are aimed at responding to the interests within the community, and take into consideration the skill sets and capabilities of residents.
Most importantly, recreational programs empower residents to learn new things and socialize with their neighbours. Learning is a life-long process and the more opportunities for people to continue with activities they used to enjoy, and explore things they’ve always wanted to partake in adds to an individual’s wellness and improves quality of life.
What are some of your favourite activities? What would you like to see offered in seniors housing communities? Share your thoughts with us below.