Amica Senior Lifestyles residences across Canada have been making headlines for taking entertainment outdoors to nurture a vibrant sense of community during a challenging time. While residence common spaces remain temporarily closed, and seniors self-isolate in their suites as a precaution, Life Enrichment teams are moving outside to offer recreational activities and social events. Waving from balconies, residents have been watching live music, dressing up for themed parties, performing in singalongs and dancing at workouts — all while practicing safe physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Singing from the street, a popular Elvis impersonator had residents and passersby singing and dancing as he performed at Amica White Rock in South Surrey, B.C. “We enjoyed it very much,” said Shirley, a resident who spoke to a newspaper that featured the Elvis show. “Everybody in the building looked like they did. Elvis did a great job, he took us back to our younger days.” The residence also offers balcony fitness in the mornings and afternoon music to keep seniors moving and socializing from a safe distance.
Celebrity singalong for frontline workers
Residents at Amica White Rock were joined by a local celebrity to sing a musical thank-you to the staff at the residence as well as frontline workers at Peace Arch Hospital and local first responders. Dressed in his tux, Vancouver Canucks anthem singer Mark Donnelly led the singing of O Canada while holding out the microphone to encourage his audience of 177 seniors to sing along. The community event was featured in the Vancouver Sun.
Amica Edgemont Village made the cover of the North Shore News for its outdoor dance parties in the name of fitness. To help seniors stay active in a fun way, instructors in cowboy hats and tutus blasted music while demonstrating the dance moves on the street — and residents followed along on their balconies and decks. “The joy in their faces and enthusiasm to join is very heartwarming,” says Judy Bjornson of Surefeet, the company that runs the mobility programs.
After a balcony singalong, a patio hoedown and polka fest, residents at Amica Aspen Woods in Calgary eagerly anticipate weekly outdoor celebrations that delight residents and draw local media. Its tropical luau party, with team members at ground level and residents dancing on balconies wearing leis and grass skirts, was featured on Breakfast Television, CTV News at 5 (the clip starts at 33:03), the Calgary Herald, and the Calgary Sun. “So great to get outside with the residents,” said Catherine Russel, General Manager. “This is as beneficial for the staff as it is for the residents — and now it seems media too!”
As a lunchtime treat, Amica Stoney Creek residents dined in their suites while an accordion player strolled around the courtyard outside the residence. “It was so great, they were cheering and clapping from their suites!” says Life Enrichment Coordinator Rhonda Bowman. Another day, a fellow resident volunteered to play the violin from his balcony for his neighbours. Live music was also a big hit at Amica Dundas, where residents enjoyed an outdoor concert by a singer playing his guitar. He played a set for each side of the building, using an amplifier so everyone could enjoy the music through their open windows or from their balconies.