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Activities Department at Westmoreland Manor Makes Every Event Special
By Vanessa Orr

One of the most important ways to help seniors remain vital is to provide them with activities that pique their interests. At Westmoreland Manor, residents have access to a wealth of activities—from bus trips to bingo to baking sessions—that help keep them interested and involved.

“In May alone, we had more than 500 activities for our residents, including seven bus trips,” explained Director of Recreation Vicki Herman. “We really do a lot in a day.”

“A lot” is an understatement. Not only does Herman plan large-scale activities on a regular basis, but activity technicians and activity aides work in each of Westmoreland Manor’s nine units to make sure that everyone has a chance to participate. “Our technicians are responsible for planning activities to fill in on the unit—this could be anything from arts and crafts, to baking sessions, to one-on-one activities geared toward our lower-functioning residents,” said Herman.

“Our technicians incorporate different levels of activities for different levels of care,” she continued. “While some of our residents do want bingo 25 times a month—and we do hold it often—we want to make sure that we provide something stimulating for everyone.”

Providing activities in this setting is important because it improves residents’ quality of life. “We don’t want anyone to be bored,” said Herman. “We also want to give them human contact; even though they live in a place where there are people around all the time, that one-on-one attention is so important, especially for people with dementia.”
For example, the smell of baking banana bread might spark a fond memory for a resident. “Maybe their mother baked bread in the fall, and this might start a conversation or bring them comfort,” said Herman. Activity aides on the secured units also host small group activities, such as playing piano for residents, as well as provide them with opportunities to get off the floor to go watch the birds in the facility’s aviary, to sit outside for a while, or to visit the snack bar for ice cream.

More alert or oriented residents are able to travel off campus to participate in a number of events, including fishing and picnics at Mammoth Park, ‘Hometown Rides’ through towns like Latrobe, Ligonier, Greensburg and more, movies and shopping stops, and visits to Overly’s to see Christmas lights. Westmoreland Manor has its own bus that is equipped to transport wheelchair passengers as well as those without mobility issues.

There are a lot of activities within the facility as well. Westmoreland Manor has its own quarterly newspaper in which residents can get involved, as well as a Resident Council and greeters’ program. “We also have a beautiful chapel that conducts Catholic and Protestant services and prayer meetings, which enables people to take part in the religious activities that are important to them,” said Herman.

Residents can watch movies in the multipurpose room, as well as Penguins’, Pirates’ and Steelers’ games, and also attend Vegas Day, Cabaret Night and a number of specially scheduled activities designed just to entertain. Of course, holidays aren’t slighted either—costumed children parade through the halls at Halloween, and Christmas includes a craft fair and tree trimming party in every unit.

“I think one of the things that sets Westmoreland Manor apart is that we have a fantastic recreation staff who is truly dedicated to our residents,” said Herman. “They are really gifted at making every event special.”

To learn more, call Westmoreland Manor at 724-830-4000 or visit www.westmorelandmanor.org.

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