When the coronavirus pandemic hit, one immediate change for senior living communities was activity programming. Residents needed to be confined to their apartments and couldn’t participate in group activities, and the community’s doors were shut to nonessential visitors.
Pamela Parker, Lifestyle Director for The Palace Coral Gables, viewed this as an opportunity to regroup and reengage her residents. Her monthly calendar of over 100 activities, including nightly live entertainment, quickly needed to be readapted.
In 2016, she was recognized for her creative programming and received the “Best 55+ Lifestyle Director Award” by the National Association of Home Builders. Facing the pandemic challenges were just another opportunity to excel.
In The Ehlers Group’s podcast, Pod-Pourri, Pamela shared with host Chris MacLellan how she adapted activities and continues to infuse creativity to engage residents. Her philosophy, “The show always must go,” becomes quickly apparent to listeners.
Pamela wasn’t satisfied allowing her residents to self-isolate or merely doling out snacks from a mobile cart. By working with the company’s IT department, the community’s in-house TV channel could be utilized for creative programming and entertainment could be broadcast to every apartment in the building. Initially, the Zoom platform was considered but many residents were not as comfortable using their computers.
The Palace has a long relationship with The University of Miami’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) and offers college-level lectures twice a week. Pamela contacted the university to see if The Palace’s lectures could be televised as well as used on the Zoom platform and they were receptive. In addition to sharing the lectures with residents at The Palace Coral Gables, they could be offered to prospective residents and adult children. Daughters of residents began enjoying the same caliber of lectures as their parents.