After 20 years of caring for families at Pueblo Community Health Center, Dr. Rona Knudsen embraces her role as InnovAge PACE’s Center Medical Director, helping vulnerable older adults in the community. <br />
Diverse Activities for Diverse Seniors
September 06, 2019
Programs are led and developed by employees in each center, and they’re designed to match the interests and abilities of the seniors they serve. Below are a few of the various activities offered throughout InnovAge PACE.
Lorna Gates was a volunteer at the Aurora PACE center when she observed some male participants disengaged from their peers. Her love of sports inspired a new activity at the center. “It’s hard to get the men involved in some of our activities,” explains Lorna, “so I started a men’s social group where we talk sports.”
At the Thornton PACE center, a volunteer woodworking instructor visits the center weekly since 2000. Participants learn about safety regulations, board handling, and body movement, before they’re introduced to various tools. Once their art is finished, each piece is sealed with a clear varnish.
“In the beginning it was primarily men, but now we have woman who come in regularly and between 30-40 participants that rotate through various woodcarving projects,” explains Stojanka Mikulic, day center manager.
Community Outings and Dancing
Participants who attend the Roanoke PACE center visit an animal assistance center once a month. They’re able to pet llamas, alpacas, rabbits, dogs, and a pot-bellied pig named Hank. Participants also routinely visit a local art museum where they discuss the current exhibit followed by a hands-on activity.
“Our participants love to get out into the community because many of them have been isolated prior to joining PACE,” explains Emily Jones, recreational therapy supervisor.
Music and dancing is popular at all PACE centers. In Roanoke, a local pre-kindergarten class (children aged from three to five years old) stops by regularly to perform a choreographed dance routine.
“A participant with dementia and extreme anxiety was exit-seeking,” Emily says, “but once the music and dancing started, she was sitting happily, singing songs – it was like night and day, and her anxiety was gone.”
Bingo and Pageantry
Yes, bingo is still a popular activity, and at the Lakewood PACE center in Colorado, it’s one that everyone still enjoys. Laura Sevillano, assistant day center manager, says, “Some activities are more popular with women like crafts and painting, and the men like socializing. But Bingo brings everyone together.” Bingo isn’t the only crowd favorite in the center. There is also a yearly pageant called “Mr. and Mrs. Lakewood.” Friends and family enjoy a day of competition focused on personality traits and talents.