By Amy Box Fellhoelter
Besides the many activities of passing out candy to trick-or-treaters for Halloween, eating Thanksgiving dinner with family members, and an upcoming “Breakfast with Santa” event, the residents of Morning Pointe Assisted Living & Memory Care also enjoyed “Game Night” with local students from Oak Grove Homeschool Cooperative. Approximately fourteen residents from the assisted living and Alzheimer’s memory care community came together to play games such as Quirckle, Sorry!, and Yahtzee either working together on teams or as opponents.
Students from pre-kindergarten to second grades look forward to seeing their “grand friends” at the monthly event. “It’s rewarding on both sides. The same kids come each month and are building relationships with the same residents,” explained Oak Grove parent Hona Stovall. As a mother of four children, she coordinates the school students to visit Morning Pointe of Knoxville on Westland Drive and National Healthcare Corporation in Farragut. Stovall was a former nursing home activities director, and is “super, super passionate” about the program because she witnessed first-hand how visitors positively impacted the demeanor of the residents.
Another activity to involve residents this holiday season is the Senior Angel Tree. The tree, made by Reed Ellis, husband of internal community relations director Lisa Ellis, gives residents the chance to spread some extra cheer by helping others through buying gifts. Items collected will support the Office on Aging for the Senior Companion Program. Senior companions serve homebound elderly individuals who need assistance with small tasks such as cooking, housekeeping, or personal care, and more importantly, they provide friendship. Since companions receive a small stipend for their service, the tree program allows for them to receive a gift of appreciation at Christmas. Alongside the Powell Morning Pointe location, the staff hopes to collect enough items to make 200 gift bags.
“I took some angels off the tree and they were ten packages of peanut butter crackers, and ten lip balms. I just got them and put them in a Christmas bag and took them to the front desk,” said resident Martha Armstrong. “Mine was soap,” said resident Mary Witt.
Residents are not the only ones taking angels. Guests, staff, family members of residents, and professional partners have been supporting the cause as well. To become involved, collect a senior angel off of the tree and bring in the gift items before Dec. 5.
“Through our outreach programs our seniors get to give back to our community through sharing their life stories, their challenges, their abilities to overcome obstacles. Benefits to the students are a wealth of knowledge from the stories shared and their wisdom being passed down to their generation from our seniors. Our seniors can benefit by overcoming loneliness, learning new skills, laughter through games and conversations with the students. Both groups make memories and friendships that will pass the age of time,” said Morning Pointe Executive Director Kristy Ritch.
For more information about Morning Pointe, visit morningpointe.com. To learn more about the Oak Grove Homeschool Cooperative, check out oakgrovecoop.net.