Long-term care residents might not be able to rough it as they once could, but as one Minnesota facility has shown, camping adventures still are possible.
The fun takes place at The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society-Albert Lea, near the town of Albert Lea. Twice a month, “Kids Korner” brings children from a local day care into the 108-bed facility. Each event has a different theme. The elders can teach the kids through games, crafts and other activities, says Campus Administrator Katie Davis.
For the camping event, the laundry department brought in sheets that were made into forts and dietary provided fixings for s’mores. The kids and seniors dipped marshmallows in chocolate and rolled them in graham cracker crumbs, then “toasted” them over campfires of battery-powered candles and paper logs. Participants fished out of an inflatable pool and enjoyed the catch of the day … goldfish crackers.
Between 20 and 25 residents participate in Kids Korner each time, Davis says. Director of Community Recreation Kate Richards conceived of Kids Korner in 2012. It’s important to partner with a day care that shares the facility’s philosophy, she advises.
Resident Luetta Hinkle enjoys watching the kids grow from one visit to the next. “They’re busy, busy, busy!” she observes.