Activities play an important role in the lives of those in long-term care facilities. Besides serving as entertainment or “just something to do,” activities help provide daily structure, pass time, and create something for Residents to look forward to. Kathe Carrero became the Director of Activities in September 2021. She has over twenty-five years of experience in activities, specifically with the elderly population. Since starting her job at the HCH, Kathe has shown a love for the Residents and a commitment to providing creative things for them to do. Though she has many years of experience, Kathe describes “learning the ins and outs of a new place” as the hardest part of her transition to the Home. She has adjusted very well, even bringing in a new activity that quickly became a Holland Home favorite: Jeopardy. Among numerous activities she’s planned and ran, Kathe names Jeopardy as both her and the Residents’ favorite. She uses Activity Connection, an online resource for activity directors, to source trivia questions, categorize them, and print them out in the form of a Jeopardy board. Kathe is always thinking of new ways to engage those living at the Home. She holds a “Resident Round-Table” to gain input from Residents as to what kinds of activities they’d like to have. Naturally, COVID-19 has posed challenges for the Activities Department. Kathe explained that some activities had to be moved to a virtual setting, including visitation. Though the Home remains open for visitation, personal health issues, COVID-19 exposures, and familial comfort levels can complicate a family’s visitation frequency. Therefore, Kathe, as well as other members of the Activities Department, have begun to help Residents use FaceTime and other technology that allows them to connect with their families. In addition, COVID-19 put the therapy dog visitation program on hold, but Kathe hopes to resume it shortly. Eventually, Kathe would like to start intergenerational groups at the Home, bringing in youth to interact with Residents and learn from each other.
Kathe did not hesitate to answer that “interacting with the Residents” is her favorite part of her job as the Activities Director. She explained that she “loves getting to make their days as happy as possible” and “making them happy is a reward which makes [her] job great.” When asked to describe her job in three words, Kathe struggled to pick just three. Ultimately, she settled on “rewarding, creative,” and “fun.” Though Kathe has only been at the Holland Christian Home for a short time, she has been a wonderful addition to our staff. We look forward to seeing her creativity continue to be displayed in the months to come.