The past few months have been like one long, rainy day for residents of nursing homes. As part of the highest-risk population, most facilities have been on lockdown since the beginning of the year.
Families have visited through glass or video, but that has been more confusing than helpful for some families.
Now more than ever, it has become crucial to come up with ways to keep residents active and engaged while they are separated from their families.
Continental Manor, a nursing home in Blanchester, Ohio, states on its Facebook page that it is “dedicated to high quality skilled nursing, hospice, and therapy services but is small enough to provide a family atmosphere in a peaceful setting.”
But they’ve swapped a little of that peace for some surprisingly high-stakes fun this Christmas with a seasonal “hunting” game.
“Residents had fun deer hunting today!” Continental Manor posted on Nov. 30, along with a video showing a lineup of foam-blaster-wielding hunters seated in wheelchairs, firing on three “deer” that darted in and out of the treeline.
Of course, this hunt involved a Christmas tree forest and staff members wearing antlers and other seasonal apparel, but the staff members had Oscar-worthy performances when the residents hit them with foam darts.
“Our ‘dear’ deer hunters!” Continental Manor shared with portraits of the participating residents. “Everyone had such a great time!”
The videos are heartwarming, showing the residents and staff laughing and thoroughly enjoying playing the roles of hunter and hunted, and have been shared over 490,000 times.
Plenty of people have commented to commend the ingenuity behind the game, and apparently the idea came from a nursing home in Canada — Wikwemikong Nursing Home. It all started when a resident commented on how much he missed hunting.
“He was saying how much he missed being an avid hunter every year, and this year was kind of hard because he felt like he was truly missing out on something important,” recreation manager Emily Barnes told CBC.
“The community that they come from, hunting and providing for their families was such an important part of life. We just try to incorporate everything that was meaningful before they came here.”
“It was so much fun. I’m sure a few might have enjoyed shooting me a little more than they should have. But, it was a really great time.”
No doubt we’ll see more pick up this idea and run with it!
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.