Residents of the Élan Westpointe Assisted Living and Memory Care who may have never had the chance to travel in their youth are now getting the chance to “go around the world” thanks to a program offered by the facility. 

Through the facility’s owners, Civitas Senior Living Management, monthly programming “takes” the residents to a new country each month by bringing the country to them. Élan Westpointe activities director Cindy Charlton said so far this year the residents have had the opportunity to learn about China, Australia, England, Spain and more. 

Activities such as speaking on Skype with persons from China, eating out at Outback Steakhouse while learning about Australia, and being taught how to have a proper English tea from the comfort of the center’s dining room give residents a chance to learn about different countries and cultures, Charlton said. 

“They also have passports which look real, but are not and they get a stamp for each ‘country’ they visit,” Charlton said, holding up a small paper booklet. “The months often coincide with holidays — such as Ireland in March, or America in July.”

The entire month’s activities revolve around the country of the month, from art activities to cocktail hours, Charlton said.

“For China, which we did in February to celebrate the Chinese New Year, we had them do an activity cutting paper,” Charlton said.

Although the idea for taking live-in residents “around the world” was corporate, each facility has had the chance to come up with their own related activities, Charlton said. 

“It’s been a lot of fun organizing different people from different countries to come speak to our seniors,” Charlton said. “We had real English ladies come for the tea, and that was pretty neat.”

Resident Sherrie McBerney said she has loved getting to “travel” through the programs, and very much enjoyed the programs about China and Ireland. 

“For Ireland, they had real dancers come in and do a jig for us down from Austin,” McBerney said. “I just think it’s a lot of fun, and it’s educational too — we also watch documentaries on many of the countries, and you learn a whole lot from those.”

It’s a great chance to educate seniors on different cultures, McBerney said.

“I thought it sounded really interesting when I first heard about it,” she said. “And it was very fun learning how to have a proper English tea.”

Next month’s program will take the residents to Jamaica, Charlton said.

“We found some residents in San Antonio who are from Jamaica and own a Jamaican restaurant there, and so they’ll be coming up to speak with our residents about their home,” Charlton said.

“I’m already looking forward to it,” McBerney said.

For more information about Élan Westpointe Assisted Living and Memory Care visit www.elanwestpointe.com

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