The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic also meant the cancellation of many annual and long-standing sporting events worldwide.

Staffers at 10 New York nursing homes decided to take matters into their own hands and organize their own Winter Olympics for both residents and workers. The games were held during the final week of February at the nursing home and rehabilitation facilities, which are all operated by Paragon Management SNF, LLC. 

The event was kicked off with an opening ceremony. Staff and residents from each facility competed in a variety of events each day of the week. Events included a bandage wrap-off, 100-foot egg and spoon race, therapy wheelchair race and a Purell relay race, which was a timed competition that involved 10 staffers passing and using hand sanitizer down a line. 

“The week gave us an opportunity to laugh again and de-stress a bit. It was exactly what the doctor ordered,” said Joe Aplustille, administrator at Momentum at South Bay for Rehabilitation and Nursing, a 160-bed skilled nursing facility in East Islip, NY. 

One of the events for the Winter Olympics was a competition in applying an ace bandage.

Each facility earned points for how well they competed in each task. The end of the week saw four facilities walk away with top prizes. 

Momentum at South Bay took home the Gold medal, while Silver was awarded to Surge Rehabilitation and Nursing in Middle Island, NY. 

Excel at Woodbury for Rehabilitation and Nursing, in Woodbury, NY, and Quantum Rehabilitation & Nursing in Middle Island, NY, tied for Bronze. 

Staff members said the events were key to boosting the spirits of both residents and workers. 

“It allowed us to have some fun and help rebuild morale within the building,” said Stacey Altman, administrator for Excel at Woodbury. “The halls were alive with laughter and friendly competition. It was amazing to see all the hidden talents come out and be celebrated.” 

Everybody is a winner in our book.