Danny the horse

In honor of National Nursing Home WeekLife Care Center of The Willows in Valparaiso, Indiana, celebrated 2017’s Spirit of America theme throughout the week of May 14-20.


Each day had a unique theme with corresponding activities and meals to celebrate a different part of the country.


Monday, May 15, was Welcome to Ellis Island Day in honor of New York City. Residents watched a short documentary on Ellis Island and participated in a follow-up discussion about the struggles faced by individuals there. A few residents shared personal stories about their own immigration to America in pursuit of a better life. For lunch, residents enjoyed Philly cheesesteak sandwiches and New York cheesecake. The day ended with entertainer Paul Landendorf performing hit songs from the ’50s, some of which featured New York. Associates donned “I Love NY” T-shirts to complement the theme.


On Tuesday the 16th, residents celebrated Chicago with Party in Chi-Town Day. The day began with a Chicago trivia game.


“Residents enjoyed the trivia for Chicago since quite a few of them grew up in the big city or worked there during their lifetime,” said Jessica Eldred, activity director.


For lunch, residents enjoyed Chicago-style pizza. Associates wore their favorite Chicago sports-team shirts and participated in baseball and basketball tournaments. The Taste of Chicago ice cream sundae social was the cherry on top of this fun day.


Wednesday the 17th was Western Wednesday. In true western fashion, a horse named Danny came to visit residents with his owner, Eldred. The visit quickly became the highlight of the day.


“The residents enjoyed petting Danny, giving him kisses and feeding him treats!” said Eldred. “Each resident who came up to see Danny smiled from ear to ear.”


Residents also enjoyed live music performed by a former certified nursing assistant at the facility as well as barbecue sandwiches and old-fashioned peach cobbler. Associates wore cowboy boots and flannel to add to the fun.


On Thursday the 18th, residents celebrated California with a glamorous Welcome to Hollywood theme. Residents and associates were red-carpet ready as they strutted their stuff in The Willows Red Carpet Fashion Show hosted by resident Loretta Williams. The runway ended with a dramatic 360-degree turn. In the afternoon, residents watched clips from some Hollywood classic films while munching on popcorn.


Stars and stripes were on display on Friday the 19th for USA Day. The day began with a performance by J. Jay Brooks, a singer who dances in costume. Brooks performed patriotic songs and some old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll hits, which encouraged residents to dance and sing along. Residents enjoyed a cookout lunch featuring hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and apple pie. Afterward, residents played classic cookout games, including corn hole, ring toss, golf ball toss and horseshoes.


This National Nursing Home Week was truly one of celebration and fun for those involved in the festivities.