A senior community’s creative way to take residents on a fishing trip was recently honored on an international stage. 

Since they couldn’t take their seniors on one of their regular fishing trips thanks to the ongoing public health crisis, the “Hall Hoppin’ Heroes” at Trinity Place Albemarle, in Albemarle, NC, figured they could just bring the water to residents. Activity and recreational staff members at the 79-bed facility responded by developing a fishing cart — with real fish — for residents to enjoy. 

Staff members described the cart, which traveled from room to room, as a “great success” that brought smiles to every face and served as a great opportunity for residents to relax and reminisce. 

“Fishing is a pastime that triggers memories and allows them to feel as though they are a part of the big world outside. Also with the live fish this enables all levels of dementia to enjoy the fish from their baseline,” said Cora Ingle, life enrichment director at Trinity Place Albemarle, which offers skilled nursing, assisted living and short-term rehabilitation services. 

“As a Life Enrichment group, we usually take a group of residents out to a pond and we enjoy a day of fishing. Since we were under these restrictions and residents could not have this opportunity; we thought of how we could bring the pond to them,” Ingle added. 

The team’s creativity paid off after the International Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners honored the fishing cart in its cart contest. Its operator, Lutheran Services Carolinas, announced the honor in mid-August. 

The contest highlighted how nursing homes, assisted living communities, hospitals and adult day care centers have responded to the challenges while still trying to provide high-quality services to residents. Only one other entry, out of 250 submitted, placed higher than the fishing cart.

“Together, we try to find something way outside the box and bring it into these four walls to share with our staff and residents,” Ingle said. 

“We are appreciative of the opportunity that we were given to show our passion and love for our residents and job,” she added. 

The facility received a $100 gift card on top of global recognition. Both are well-deserved.