Creative entertainment provides distractions for sequestered lifestyle


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Remaining safely segregated, the residents of senior living facilities in Brevard County are at the focus of special entertainment. Since senior living facilities are still on lockdown due to the COVID-19, the facilities’ administrations and their staff are motivated to keep their residents happy.

“My biggest philosophy is everybody is so worried about the physical wellbeing of residents, but no one is talking about the residents,” said Eric Hardoon, executive director of Chateau Madeleine in Melbourne. “What we have done is taken the staff with not a lot of work due to lockdown and increased the activities department to keep our residents sane with smaller groups going to outside activities. Our residents have been birdwatching, we have 15,000 fish stocked in our lake, so they fish, feed turtles and share stories on the pavilion at the lake.

“We try something through the course of the week to keep them excited,” Hardoon said. 

Sharing proper distancing, Hardoon said the residents were treated to a fireworks display on July 3. They visit and walk alongside relatives seen through the glass windows at the large pavilion on campus.

“We want to keep them motivated and happy and to get them to not focus on what is (wrong) in the world,” Hardoon said. “Sometimes depression can actually be more deadly than the actual virus itself.”

Other facilities also have special programs in place.

“We haven’t lifted any restrictions and the residents are still on their assigned floors,” said Glenda Mazza, director of health services at Buena Vida Estates in West Melbourne. “They are active with crafts and music and have face time with their families through a tablet or Zoom. They are fine but are ready to get out. But they have been very understanding about socializing with those on their floor through social distancing.”

Not sequestered to their apartments at Victoria Landing Assisted Living and Memory Care, the residents engage in activities in all the buildings, said Gwyneth Shick, marketing executive. 

“They can get outside as we have a pool and walking site. Most community areas are open where they have access to activities. We provide meals every day, so they come down to the dining room and socialize through social distancing. All the staff members are masked and sanitize everything several times a day. 

“This is the system until the virus (COVID-19) is more under control and the governor (Gov. Ron DeSantis) changes restrictions.”