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Tyrrell House residents virtually ‘cruise’ the Caribbean

Tyrrell House residents took a “virtual cruise” to five different destinations the week of August 24. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, staff at Tyrrell House have been brainstorming new and fun activities for their residents, who are asked to stay inside and away from guests for safety reasons.

“Since COVID, we have been trying to think outside the box and come up with creative ideas for the residents since they can’t leave or have visitors,” said Bradley Yates, life enrichment coordinator at Tyrrell House.

Yates came up with the idea of a cruise, where residents would virtually visit different tropical locations and each location would be tied in with a national holiday.

“We created a cruise schedule and each day had a different theme,” Yates explained.

On Monday, August 24, residents took a virtual trip to Florida for “National Waffle Day.” They were served chicken and waffles and “took pictures” in front of the Disney World sign in Orlando.

On Tuesday, Yates said the residents virtually toured Mexico and had a taco lunch party. “We listened to Mexican music and had banana splits for dessert,” he shared. Tyrrell House residents also did some shopping and took lots of photos.

“The entire week we used a photo app to take pictures of the residents and Photoshop them into pictures of each location,” Yates explained. “We posted the photos online each day and the community loved it.”

Wednesday brought the virtual travelers to Costa Rica, where they went ziplining, saw waterfalls, volcanoes and even went down virtual waterslides.

Thursday was “International Lottery Day” and the residents journeyed to Jamaica, where they visited the Bob Marley Museum and received scratch-off lottery tickets. Three residents “won big” and took back cash prizes. They spent some time dancing on the beach with a Jamaican band and went horseback riding on the beach (virtually, of course).

“We posted the photos on our Facebook page and were getting messages all week from family and friends,” said Yates.

On the last day of the virtual cruise, the residents visited Cocoa Bay in the Bahamas. They spent some time with the cabana boys, had some (non-alcoholic) mixed drinks, took pictures with flamingos, went down a water slide and swam with some pigs. “The residents really enjoyed it,” Yates shared.

Yates said his team has been trying to incorporate technology in all the activities that take place at Tyrrell House now. They turned bingo into a digital game that can be played on the TV from each resident’s respective room to mitigate large gatherings and practice social distancing.

The facility has always implemented the use of tablets to FaceTime family members and friends. Members of the community and family members have taken time to donate supplies to Tyrrell House. Yates said one family just donated a sound system so the residents can listen to music in the common areas.

Yates shared that last week, the residents even enjoyed a live concert in which the performer stood outside and sang while the residents watched from indoors.

For more information and to keep up with the activates and events that take place at Tyrrell House, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TyrrellHouseALG.

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