“Horses” are racing at Good Samaritan Society – Arlington in Arlington, Ohio.
Except the participants aren’t real horses, but rather staff members who wear a number. And the race isn’t at a track, but inside the center’s main hallway.
“We’re trying to do things to entertain residents and get them engaged,” says Johnna Shaferly, activities director at the center.
Good Samaritan Society locations are providing unique activities during the COVID-19 quarantine to keep residents engaged. These events, which are a unique take on a horse racing type of competition, have given residents and staff members something fun to look forward to.
Music sets the scene for each race. Residents watch from their doorways or are given masks to wear as they sit around the nurses’ station at safe social distances.
Once the “horses” are in position, residents take turns rolling the dice to determine their movements down the “track.” An announcer uses a microphone to declare what happens with each roll.
One die has numbers and the other has action moves like large step, small step, gallop or reverse. The numbered die determines how many action moves are taken.
When enough rolls eventually lead a “horse” across the finish line, the winner receives a ribbon.
The first race included “horses” made up of leadership – including Administrator Austin Gerber. One leader, Director of Nursing Susan Lawrence, even ran in her high heels.
“They were good sports,” says Johnna. “Everyone enjoyed seeing the administrator acting silly. And of course they were taking as large of steps as they could.”
Prior to the race, Johnna put a story in the daily paper with pictures of those racing and a headline that said, “Who’s gonna win?”
Johnna came up with the horse race activity after attending an activity professionals conference.
“It brought unity and made everyone forget what was going on for half an hour,” says Abigail Mikesell, director of social services.
Because the first race was so successful, Johnna decided to hold a race every other week.
The second race involved remote-control cars. Johnna says residents and med aides drove the cars and had a lot of fun.
Each lineup will have different participants. And, the hope is to ease some of the quarantine stress with each race.