Tips on staying happy and busy during quarantine

​from our Activity Director, Ruthie McQuinn

​Pictured left: Ruthie with one of our 13 chickens; Pictured right: Residents video chatting with family
This is a time unlike any of us have ever experienced. With new experiences comes new challenges. Some of the main challenges many of us are facing include staying connected to friends and family, financial stress, decline in physical and mental health, and downright boredom. As the activity director and art therapist at Hope & A Future, this is a very unique opportunity for me to find creative solutions to these issues for our residents. 

Something I’ve noticed in assisting residents with virtual visits with family and friends is the powerful and unexpected emotional impact a new style of connection can have. Upon seeing her family’s faces pop up on the screen in a Facebook Messenger group chat, one resident’s sister broke down into tears and said, “Why haven’t we done this before?!” Teaching individuals in advanced stages of dementia what Skype, Zoom and Face Time are is equal parts frustrating, hilarious, and rewarding. We are very fortunate to have the ability to provide 1:1 time with residents at Hope & A Future so that we can explain and plan out these types of visits. If this is an option for you and your loved ones that you have not yet taken advantage of, I highly encourage you to do so. A short video chat can make a world of difference for the individuals on both ends of the line. If virtual visits aren’t an option, send a card, text, email, make a phone call, or even visit with loved ones from outside their window or front door. The effort will be as beneficial for you as it is for them. God created us for relationship with each other. The importance of our connections is apparent now more than ever. To know we are not alone is one of the most valuable truths required for mental, spiritual, and emotional health. 

Something that has proved incredibly beneficial for the physical and emotional health of our residents is establishing a routine. Because we are unable to go on outings or have visitors, our normal routine has been disrupted greatly by the pandemic we are facing. Creating a new routine for our time in quarantine has kept us busy, active, and positive. Getting up, eating meals, and going to bed at the usual times is a simple yet effective way to regain some normalcy. Incorporating exercise into our routine via Face Time with our Tai Chi instructor, Bob, or doing chair exercise videos using YouTube has been great for everyone. Some of our favorites are Kassandra and Adriene‘s chair yoga classes. (Click their names to access the free online classes!) Other valuable components of our quarantine routine include getting fresh air (walking outside, collecting eggs and taking care of the chickens, etc.), and projects/hobbies. This can be as simple as reading a book, coloring and listening to music, doing a puzzle from the newspaper, or as fancy as a home improvement, craft, or art project. Designating times to work on certain things is the key. Another thing we are purposeful about is limiting the amount of time we spend focusing on the news. As important as it is to stay up to date with what’s going on in the world right now, it is equally important to find balance and not obsess over it. It’s too easy to get overwhelmed. For us, reading the newspaper in the morning and watching the evening news is just the right amount – as long as the news isn’t the last thing you watch before going to bed! Something fun must follow. Hopefully some of this information is helpful to you. It is certainly helping us stay sane during a crazy time.

​Blessings to you all! 
-Ruthie

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