Daily activities for residents of Cypress Cove at HealthPark Florida’s national award-winning community – The Cottage – are going well beyond its walls and the traditional pastimes offered by facilities who care for those with dementia.
Program Manager of The Cottage – Carleigh Racinski – recently has guided two resident projects: one benefitting nearby Golisano Children’s Hospital and the other benefitting the Gulf Coast Humane Society.
Residents at The Cottage have been busy making stuffed animals for placement in each of the hospital’s patient rooms.
Meanwhile, Gulf Coast Humane Society has been the recipient of doggy treats hand mixed, rolled, shaped, and baked by interested residents at The Cottage’s two-story, four household facility.
These projects, explains Racinski, were driven primarily by residents of The Cottage who wished to do something to help organizations within the South Fort Myers surrounding community. “As residents (of The Cottage) approached me and offered their help, I eventually came to the conclusion that we could expand our program to include outside community volunteer projects,” she says. The idea has taken a foothold and Racinski notes that more outside community projects are being planned.
Meanwhile in house, The Cottage, which is noted for its variety of programming, has added another activity – indoor Bocce. The Italian lawn bowling game is an outdoor game that made its way indoors at Cypress Cove’s nearby independent living community.
The game’s popularity prompted Racinski and members of the resident woodshop to build a portable indoor Bocce court – one-quarter the normal court size – for use by residents of The Cottage. The court and game has been an instant hit at The Cottage. “That’s right,” notes Racinski, “15 Cottage residents played the first day.” Team competition is not far behind.
Each project and activity, notes Racinski, is initiated to engage residents of The Cottage. These programs emphasize the importance of physical, social, brain fit and wellness activity elements as a means of creating greater engagement, socialization and a sense of purpose for residents with memory loss issues.