Beyond bingo

Sand Rock offers residents a wide variety of activities

Hilda Schmidt, 96, likes to play bingo with a card she thinks is lucky -- it's the one with a 66 in the bottom right corner.

When O-66 is called, the Sand Rock Ridge Care and Rehab resident drawls out the number, lightheartedly calling it siggety-six. Later, when B-4 is called, she quips, "Before or behind."

It's just another day of playing bingo for a half-dozen residents at the nursing home, but skip a day, and they'll let you know about it, Activities Director Sheryl Searcy said.

"If I take it off the calendar, they say we don't do anything," she said laughing.

But, there's hardly a shortage of activities for residents at Craig's newest nursing home. April's calendar, for example, is packed with programs. They include activities such as crafts, socials, trivia games and bird watching.

On a more athletic note, residents can take a stab at kickball, ring tossing or gardening.

They can choose to participate or opt out of the activities, Searcy said, yet she always makes it a point to ask.

"It's strictly up to them," she said. "I make a point to ask them at least three times if they want to be included.

I think they like that."

Sand Rock re-opened this fall after the former Valley View Manor closed its doors in the summer of 2003.

The remodeled facility can house 58 residents, administrator Mitch Friedman has said.

There are 25 residents currently.

Fred Trouth, a temporary resident of the facility, was enjoying a cigarette Thursday in a sunny courtyard off the building's main room. Two dogs played nearby.

Having dogs on site is part of the facility's' program to incorporate pet therapy.

"I like it here," Trouth said.

"They're giving me therapy, and they're hardly giving me a rest. There's a lot to do here," he said.

Activities such as volleyball, an exercise called light and lively and outdoor strolls get residents moving and having so much fun that they forget they're exercising, Searcy said.

"That's the idea," she said.

Other activities cater to residents' spiritual, physical and social needs. Times are set aside to talk about the news, listen to music or just sit around and chat.

An activity room filled with games, a television and two chattering parakeets sometimes attract residents who want to get together.

Playing bingo, Searcy said, is one activity that never fails to draw a crowd.

Some regulars are known to play with an intensity that draws other residents to sit by and watch simply for its comedic value, Searcy said.

Players swap jokes and sometimes get frustrated with each other, but the always take a moment to point out a missed number or repeat a bingo call.

It's a social mingling that keeps residents' minds sharp and coming back for more.

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