Happy New Year! I hope everyone’s holiday season has been especially nice. I’ve been reflecting on our Recreation Department - how much has changed in two decades and how we continue to expand!

The Maplewood was quite different when I started here over 20 years ago. While we’ve always focused on providing the best quality of life for our residents, we didn’t start out with all of the amenities and capabilities that we have today. As a forward thinking nursing home, we continually evolve, offering more and more possibilities for our residents to live life to the fullest.

Looking back, I recall that our “big concert space” was Happenings, then known as “The Dining Room.” Resident rooms were semi-private, our newsletters were one piece of paper, there was one meal time and we didn’t offer an a la carte menu. Our chorus didn’t exist, and we didn’t have happy hours or Wine and Cheese Gatherings. The Holiday Bazaar was nearly a decade away from its inception.

The Activities Room didn’t have the stove and oven that we now use so often for fun cooking projects. Movie night meant popping a VHS tape in and watching it on a large TV. Our current projection system, big screen and capability to pull up Netflix has increased viewing pleasure and our options! Being able to access WiFi has changed the game. Residents love it and often ask us to look up a movie or show on what Faith P calls “The Magic Machine.”

Monthly recreation schedules were hard copy, period. We couldn’t access them utilizing the web site or our handy Maplewood App the way we can nowadays. Family members communicated with their loved ones face to face or via telephone. Using email, cell phones and texting were unheard of.

The space at today’s Maplewood is truly splendid. Residents and family members appreciate the lovely private rooms and wonderful amenities. Dining has expanded to include multiple restaurants with full menus and a coffee lounge. We have many comfortable sitting areas for visiting outside the resident rooms. We host happy hours twice a week  along with many other family oriented events and activities.
As Director of Recreation, my perspective is on the activities and what we are now capable of doing. We have a larger recreation staff plus about 140 volunteers, giving us the manpower to offer more outings and run multiple events at the same time.

One of the biggest changes has been our residents’ willingness to speak up, sharing their ideas and viewpoints on leisure time. All Maplewood staff demonstrates an amazing ability to listen and act to fulfill resident wishes. We continually add new activities based on the interests of our residents. We also do our best to accommodate individual requests and create unique experiences for residents, families and friends to enjoy together.

In 2017, we will continue to do all we can to help our residents live life to the fullest at The Maplewood! That, in my opinion, is always the way to go!