by Ozzie Nogg
This past May 10 through 15 marked National Nursing Home Week, and the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home celebrated with activities based on television game shows. “The various neighborhoods in the Home were totally transformed,” explained Maggie Conti, RBJH Director of Activities and Outreach Programs. “The Southeast neighborhood was decorated to look like Press Your Luck; Southwest chose props that mimicked The Price is Right; Northwest neighborhood morphed into The Amazing Race; Northeast picked Hollywood Squares; and the Therapy Unit decked themselves out as Family Feud. The entire facility was wall-to-wall fun.” In addition, Conti’s office became the $25,000 Pyramid; Director of Social Services Bert Benson’s office was decorated as Name that Tune; and the receptionist’s desk on Main Street turned into Casting Call for Game Show Contestants.
During Nursing Home Week at the Blumkin Home, Residents enjoyed games aplenty. RBJH Activities Director Doug Smith outdid Alan Thicke as host of Pictionary; Josh Gurock, Blumkin Home Director of Operations (standing in for chef and TV personality Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives) and Karen Menagh, Activities Director, led Minute to Win It; Shawn Menagh (husband of activities director Karen Menagh), played the host of Family Feud — sort of a cross between Richard Dawson, Wink Martindale and Chuck Barris. “Mike Silverman, Executive Director of Jewish Social Services emceed Name That Tune with his iPod playlist,” Conti said. “Everyone was hysterical. Even the CDC students got in on the action by guessing Disney Name That Tune songs.”
Outlandish costumes and trivia games were the order of the day during NNHW. Staff dressed as their favorite game show host, turned up in goofy Let’s Make A Deal Purim costumes and, for the very brave, in PJs. On Main Street crowds played Name the Game Show, Name the Game Show Host, Name the Price is Right Game and participated in a Pepsi/Coke challenge. “But the most popular game, hands down, was the Name the Nose Exhibit,” said Natalie Osborne, RBJH Nurses Manager. “You had to match a picture of a nose with the nose of a Blumkin Home staff person. Last year we had to match pictures of feet with their owners. I’m afraid to see what’s next.”
The Blumkin Home tries to include intergenerational projects as often as possible, and this year’s National Nursing Home Week let the RBJH connect residents with students from Reeder Elementary School. “One hundred kids from the school came and entertained us with a musical performance from 9:30 a.m. until 10 a.m.,” said Mike Aparo, Director of Food Services. “Then we had to set up for the Deli lunch crowd, so things were crazy busy, but fun.” Besides the Friday Deli, other culinary treats dished up during Tea Times included Franks in a Blanket; fried mac and cheese; miniature domino-shaped frosted cookies; ice cream sundaes and Mike Aparo’s mystery treat — fried candy bars.
National Nursing Home Week is a time when skilled nursing centers across the country plan events to honor the lives of the people they care for and the staff who serve them. “The national theme this year was Bring on the Fiesta,” Conti said, “with the emphasis on family, life and love. Our goal is to make sure that Blumkin Home residents receive loving attention and experience life to the fullest during each day of the year.”
Helping Conti coordinate the Blumkin Home celebration were Mike Silverman, Executive Director Jewish Social Services; Doug Smith, Mary Heiman, Karen Hook and Karen Menagh, Activities Directors; Jen Addison, Food Service Supervisor; Melina Cohen, Executive Assistant – Office Manager; Molly Rosenberg, Social Worker; Jessy Ahabbar, Aaron Dittmer, Kylee Weibel and Deb Simon, Neighborhood Clerks; Janet Herman, R.N.; and Colin Heskin, Operations Intern.
During the week of celebration, staff wore special t-shirts imprinted with the phrase “Only at the Blumkin Home.” According to Natalie Osborne, “When I started working here almost twelve years ago, people would talk about our services and say, ‘Only at the Blumkin Home.’ At first I didn’t understand what they meant, but the longer I’ve been here the more times I end up saying those words myself. I’ve worked in other long-term care settings, but none of those facilities offer their Residents the same kind of attention and fun. It truly happens only at the Blumkin Home.” At the conclusion of National Nursing Home Week, Mike Silverman said, “The committee had so much fun that we’ve decided to continue meeting every quarter to come up with quirky events that will enthuse Residents and staff alike.”
National Nursing Home Week at the RBJH was generously sponsored by the Marcia and Steve Pitlor Family.