The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

Nursing Home Residents Take Life in Stride


July 22, 2020

As Activities Employee Stephanie Talksdifferent retrieves pool noodles for Frances Ewing and Mary Hofeldt so that they can join the game, Shirley Lynn keeps her eye on the balloon "ball." Meanwhile, Hattie Bretzke, Helen Stephens, and Bonnie Russell wait for the balloon to get to their side of the table.

So far, July at Sweet Memorial Nursing Home (SMNH) has found the staff and residents receiving therapy frogs, previewing their new activity room, celebrating birthdays, and extending their visitation policy.

Nancy Boyce generously donated a cart of homemade therapy frogs to the residents at the SMNH. From the selection, each resident chose a frog of his or her own. An activities employee at the Home, Stephanie Talksdifferent explained how the frogs work: "With a little microwaving these frogs can be used as warm therapy or can be put in a freezer for cold therapy. The frogs are like a friend when you have an ache. They will hang out with you and offer some comfort."

On June 30, the residents held their first event in the recently completed activity room-a farewell party for Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Lisa Crawford.

As June rolled into July, the activities department continued to settle in to their larger space. The added room has allowed the Activities Department to get creative with rousing games of pool noodle ping pong and birthday celebrations.

According to Ward Clerk Carla Uhl, the residents are even able to spread out for bingo and not be in the Sweet Room and hallway to play. Furthermore, birthday parties are more festive in the spacious room. Birthdays celebrated with ice cream cones in June commemorated Mike Leeds and Swede Welsh.

In the newly completed activity room at the Sweet Home, Theresa Tincher, Shirley Lynn, Norma Layton, and Bonnie Russell visit during a farewell party for Lisa Crawford.

On June 29 and June 30, the Sweet Home performed voluntary Covid-19 testing on residents and staff. These test results were received on July 6 and later reviewed.

"We were hoping to notify families for updates on visitation after reviewing the test results, which were all negative, by the way. However, that very same day, we received news that Blaine County recorded its first COVID case, so I have decided to put the visits on hold, just to wait and see how the cases go in the next couple of days. With Havre starting to become a slight hot spot right now also, it has just made me nervous. I'm still hopeful that at some point this summer, we'll get to have some outdoor visits. But it all just depends; I really do not want to jeopardize the residents' health," Sweet Home Administrator Rebecca Shackelford stated.

"You can still use Face Time or visit your loved ones from outside while they sit in the Sweet Room," Shackelford explained. "Simply contact the Activities Department to set up a time."


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