Sebastien Rubino / [email protected]
Seniors at Woodland Care Center in Woodland can now leave their rooms whenever they want due to dwindling COVID-19 cases and residents have spent some of that freedom celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on March 17.
Activities Director Joanna Gennick was happy to see the smiles of the seniors who took part in the annual festivities that were at one time only a memory due to the closures.
“We have a bunch of St. Patrick’s Day beads we’ve made and we’re going to do a parade,” Gennick said. “They all have their masks on with green mustaches and their St. Patrick’s Day headbands and such. We paraded through the halls and met in the large dining room for music, cupcakes and coffee. It was just a really good time.
Since many residents grew up listening to the Beatles, Gennick said their music was played as a source of entertainment during the event. Gennick had tried to get a live band to play, but it proved difficult due to vaccination requirements.
“We are under different guidelines compared to everyone else. For example, we always have to wear masks here. I think it’s going to be like that for a while, but they liked Beatles CDs, so that’s good,” Gennick said. “It’s a different generation here. I remember when I had to play ‘In the Mood’ by Glenn Miller.
At the party, staff served cupcakes with green frosting, ice cream, punch with green sherbet, and cookies. They also decorated the center with green balloons, streamers, green flowers and various table decorations.
“They are all delighted with their first vacation (apart from their rooms). It’s not a big vacation, but it’s for them because they got out of their room,” Gennick said.
To add to the festivities, many women also painted their nails green.
The elders played St. Patrick’s Day themed bingo, which presented gifts to the winners. Due to the closures, Gennick said there is no St. Patrick’s Day celebration in 2021. What makes this year’s celebration different from previous ones, she says, are the masks.
“We can still eat and take off our masks as a group, but we still have to be 6 feet apart,” she said. “They can all be in groups, but they can’t eat in groups.”
She explained that they also couldn’t put tables together like before.
Although there isn’t a large Irish population at Woodland Care Center, “we’re all Irish at heart when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day,” Gennick said. “(The elders) have fun at all their celebrations. Everything we do, they are so happy. They are just happy to have things to do. It’s better than sitting in their room and staring out the window.
Gennick said the center also hosts a monthly birthday party, which is a celebration for all seniors whose birthdays occurred that month. As part of this, the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church of Woodland is contributing two cakes. There’s chocolate cake and angel food cake, which Gennick says are for residents with diabetes, as well as ice cream. Residents also receive birthday cards.
Along with the St. Patrick’s Day celebration, Gennick mentioned that the center will be hosting an outdoor Easter egg hunt for staff children. She said the event is popular, especially for older people who enjoy watching it.