Camp Westmoreland: “Kids Making a Difference”

It’s that time of the year again! Tuesday May 31st, 2016 we set off our annual Camp Signature of Westmoreland! The theme of this year’s camp is “Kids Making a Difference.” Camp Westmoreland is an intergenerational program designed to have children and our elders interact on a meaningful level each day. The camp is for staff members’ children. Westmoreland Care and Rehab is an Eden Alternative Community. The Eden Alternative focuses on changing the culture of care in nursing homes. Eden Alternative defines three plagues that occur in nursing homes, which are helplessness, loneliness, and boredom. Camp Westmoreland provides us with a unique way to help fight the three plagues described in the Eden Alternative.

Every morning the campers write a “Daily Vitamin,” which is a short encouraging bible verse to give to elders and staff members. This activity provides a very meaningful interaction between the children and elders. The children hand deliver the Daily Vitamin and read it to the elder or staff member. One child said, “I like giving out the Daily Vitamins, because I like helping and talking to the elders.” One elder was so happy to receive the Daily Vitamin that she said, “I will be hanging this up on my wall!” We give a Daily Vitamin not only to the elders, but to staff as well, because changing the culture of care begins with our staff members.

During camp, the campers will exercise with elders and encourage elders to participate in exercise. Following exercise, we move into our daily prayer group. Directly after the prayer, we use our new technology system “iN2L” and we sing hymns together with lyrics up on our big screen TV. There is something special about hearing the voices of the elders and children singing songs together. We sing songs like “Amazing Grace,” “I’ll Fly Away,” and “Old Rugged Cross.” The smiles on the faces of the elders watching and singing with the children shows just how important intergenerational activities are when it comes to fighting the three plagues described by the Eden Alternative.

In the afternoons, our campers assist with our “Breathe Life” program at Westmoreland Care and Rehab. Breathe Life is a program directed by our full time respiratory therapy team that focuses on breathing exercises, treatments, and breathing activities for elders with COPD, or those at risk for respiratory issues such as pneumonia. Our campers assist and participate in the Breathe Life activities such as deep breathing, breathe life exercise, and other activities designed by the activity department to provide beneficial breathing exercises for our elders to develop their lung strength.

At the end of the day, we have an activity called “Teaching Tech.” This activity lets our campers use their knowledge of current technology, such as iPads, to teach our elders how to use this type of technology. The campers teach the elders how to play games likememory challenging games, and just how to work the technology. Introducing elders to technology can help us find new ways to keep our elders engaged in activities and find interests they might not have known they even had. We are looking forward to the next two months of Camp Westmoreland!

Westmoreland Care and Rehab is revolutionizing the healthcare industry forever!