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Activities, dining services focused on residents’ social well-being

With the arrival of vaccinations and the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, residents of Rolla Presbyterian Manor are enjoying an uptick in social wellness.

Noah Rhoades, life enrichment director

Both the life enrichment and dining services staff have noticed the dramatic difference.

“During the pandemic, it felt a little like there was a dark cloud hanging over us,” said Noah Rhoades, life enrichment director. “Being able to see family in person and gather together has really helped lift that cloud.”

Noah and his staff offer at least one physical activity a week and at least one activity that promotes mental stimulation.

Some popular activities everyone has enjoyed getting back to include balloon volleyball and Nerf gun target shooting. Both help with hand-eye coordination and offer the opportunity for light physical activity.

Carmen Payne, dining services director

“We play games regularly that allow the residents to unwind and relax, such as ‘Name that Tune,’ where they try to guess songs from the ’40s–’70s era after listening to short audio clips,” Noah said.

Other favorite games include crosswords, trivia, hangman and “finish the line.” The latter starts with the first part of a common saying, such as, “What goes around …” It’s up to the contestants to finish the phrase (in this case, with “… comes around”).  

“It’s always a blessing seeing them leave the activity room with satisfaction and a feeling that they have purpose,” Noah said.

Like the activities department, dining services is focused on individual resident needs.

“We get to know our residents,” said Carmen Payne, dining services director. Her staff creates a dining profile for each resident, which is updated at least once a year. It includes the foods they like and dislike, plus what beverages they prefer at each meal.

Usually, two “plates” are offered at each meal, and residents can mix and match the entrée, vegetable and starch according to their preferences.

“This is their house,” Carmen said. “They can put their plate together however they want.” If neither plate appeals, residents can order off an a la carte menu.

Dining services takes a liberalized approach to resident nutrition. That means residents with health concerns such as diabetes or hypertension are not placed on restrictive diets.

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