Friends Village in Newtown, PA shared the resident programs accomplished through the 2021 Aging Assistance Granting Group’s Block Grant from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Sheila Sorkin, Aging Support Coordinator, met by Zoom with their with Executive Director, Chiyo Moriuchi, and the Friends Village management team to review their exciting programs. A core component of the Friends Village model is a focus on wellness. As we age, the advantage of gaining insight into relaxation and skills in balance will assist in reducing health risks.
Staff at Friends Village identified a member of Fallingston Meeting, Amy Ward Brimmer MA., to lead a series of wellness activities. Laura Hornyak, Community Wellness and Engagement Coordinator, noted that, “the residents that participated in the sessions loved it!” This program along with so many others were announced through their new software, Activity Pro, which helped staff create engaging Resident Activities Monthly Calendars. Another program included music and guitar playing with Amy Duckett Wagner, Clerk of Fallingston Meeting, where members are known for its’ cultural talents.
Friends Village activities, directed by the Wellness & Engagement Coordinator, are open to all residents to enjoy and reap the benefits of participation. Residents provided input into what activities and events should be included in fostering holistic health and wellness. Staff reported that by summer of 2021, 65% of the residents attended at least one of the new wellness-focused activities/programs.
End of Summer Pool Party
An ‘End of Summer Pool Party’ was held outside where residents could dip their feet into small inflatable pools. Beyond pools, they had water balloons, small water pistols, bubbles, and yard games for their enjoyment. Supplies for the party and refreshments were supported by the PYM grant. In the fall, Friends Village hosted a “Halloween Homecoming Celebration” for residents and their loved ones. While the prevalence of Covid-19 still made large indoor gatherings unwise, staff prepared a COVID-19 mindful outdoor celebration at each of their two campuses so that participants could socialize in-person safely. More than 50 residents and family members enjoyed refreshments, pumpkin painting, t-shirt crafting, music, games, and prizes. In November, a “Grateful Gathering” to celebrate Thanksgiving was held. The gathering was designed using guided discussion, to ask residents to examine things in their lives for which they were grateful. A food activity gave residents the opportunity to make their own miniature pies with a variety of fillings to place in small crusts.
Winter brought a “Design Workshop” to personalize wreaths for residents’ doors. Offering a variety of decorations, residents chose to create a holiday wreath, or everyday wreaths for year-round display. On “National Ugly Sweater Day”, a party was hosted that dared residents and staff to wear their ugliest holiday sweaters. Cookies baked by Friends Village directors using recipes created by kitchen staff member, Melissa Miller and which were featured in the holiday issue of Country Rustic magazine. A hot chocolate bar complemented the cookies. Prizes were awarded in a variety of categories to residents with the most noteworthy sweaters. Winter celebrations concluded with a “Gingerbread Houses” workshop hosted on each campus. Residents used pre-made kits, assembled and decorated their house using icing and candies.
Friends Village focuses on providing opportunities by creating programs to enhance and encourage resident development in six domains of wellness: physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and occupational. Throughout the planning phases of defining the Friends Village Wellness Program & Initiatives and in identifying the elements of each wellness dimension, the Aging Assistance Granting Group’s PYM Block Grant was invaluable in supplying their programming and activities with invaluable support and materials which helped to engage residents and create community.
This article is part of the To Brighten Your Day series: stories that explore the lives of our aging community members in the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.