Fall fun at Homeland: Witches and staff wheelchair races


Homeland got in the “spirit” of Halloween and fall this year, making the most of everyone’s favorite season with activities full of pumpkin spice and everything nice.

Fall at Homeland is an excellent time for getting outdoors, enjoying fall-flavored treats, and, of course, dressing in costumes. The clever minds of the Homeland Activities Department dreamed up an array of colorful, tasty, and fun events that bring the people of Homeland together for autumn enjoyment.

To the delight of residents, the hallways filled with little superheroes, princesses, ghosts, and goblins on October 19, with an annual favorite – trick or treat night. The children and grandchildren of residents and Homeland employees went door to door in their costumes. The residents were all smiles as they gave out candy, supplied by Homeland, to the little ones. One resident wore a beautiful witch hat, and one couple dressed as cats. The Activities Department dressed as witches

“We were still getting compliments two weeks later,” said Assistant Director of Activities Emma Lengyel. “The residents still talk about how wonderful it was to see the kids in their costumes.”

“It’s fun to see how the residents love the kids and light up when they see their costumes,” said Director of Activities Aleisha Arnold.

This year’s employee appreciation event took on a new, fall-flavored spin. Instead of a picnic just for employees, Homeland wanted to celebrate the love that flows between residents and staff, so the event became Octoberfest.

In the Homeland parking lot, the day was warm for October, but that didn’t stop residents and staff from enjoying the taco truck and the hot drink bar offering cocoa and apple cider. The Homeland Board of Managers held a bake sale for additional treats, and Homeland CNA Anita Payne baked mini versions of her famous sweet potato pie.

Residents also got to decorate toy pumpkins to bring some fall décor to their rooms. The day’s highlight was the wheelchair race when four teams of two members each turned into speed devils. Participants came from the Board of Managers, social work department, nursing, and business. The winners were the nursing powerhouse of Sharria Floyd and the irrepressible Aprile Greene.

“It was a fun day seeing the love shared between the residents and staff.” said Aleisha Arnold.

Things got spooky but culturally enlightening with a double dose of the Mexican Day of the Dead for Personal Care residents. First, they gathered for a crafts session to create paper fans decorated like skulls, the traditional el Dia de los Muertos symbol. Two days later, Activities Coordinator Diomaris Pumarol taught them about the Mexican tradition of celebrating and remembering their late loved ones and forebears.

In Skilled Care, residents made witches’ brooms from pretzel sticks for a spooky social. They also drank witch’s brew punch featuring floating “eyeballs” – each one made by Emma putting a blueberry inside a lichi fruit.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Halloween Day without Halloween costumes, and many staff members dressed up in costumes that amused and delighted the residents. The nursing management staff dressed up as Disney characters, including Cruella De Vil and a dalmatian, plus Minnie Mouse, a pirate, Jessie from Toy Story, and the evil Maleficent. The 2nd floor charge nurse dressed as Flo from State Farm, receiving many compliments from residents, staff, and the CEO himself.

“Just doing something a little different makes the day more fun,” said Emma. “The residents were having fun just seeing us dressed up.”

On the first Saturday in November, the Board of Managers continued the fall feeling. They brought in popular duo Buffalo Mountain Bluegrass Band, who had been a big hit for Homeland Hospice’s 10th-anniversary “Guitars, Gifts & Gratitude” event, while serving pumpkin donuts and apple cider.

The Board of Managers will deck the halls in holiday style for the upcoming holidays. Elvis Presley acts are always a favorite, and a new, young Elvis tribute artist is slated to appear for a “blue Christmas.”

Plus, Homeland’s highly anticipated holiday party returns on December 8th, when residents get the joy of hosting family and friends over a delicious holiday meal made with love by the Homeland dietary team.

“We look forward to this time of the year. Seeing our residents surrounded by their family and friends makes our hearts happy.” says Aleisha Arnold.