PORT ST. LUCIE PEOPLE
The ACTIVITIES DIRECTOR
Faland Jeanty has worked for the past three years as an activities director at assisted living facilities and nursing homes enhancing the lives of the residents.
Residents at Port St. Lucie Rehabilitation and Healthcare,
a skilled nursing facility, have enjoyed a social calendar
that includes parties, cooking and crafts, games,
animals, chair exercises and more. Faland Jeanty, the center’s
activities director, has always based the wide variety of
programs on the needs of those under her care.
“We have dementia, end-of-life care and therapy patients,”
she explains. “We want to put smiles on their faces.”
Because she and her team are so socially involved from day
to day, she says they can act as the eyes and ears of the nurses.
“When we see something is off, we speak up,” she says. “A
lot of times we can catch something early.”
And then ... the pandemic hit.
“Our residents were already restricted due to disabilities or
dementia,” Jeanty says. “Now they’re even more confined.”
In addition to being activities director, Jeanty is a recreational
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“It’s cool, to have fun and help someone at the same time.”
A stroke victim with sequencing issues, for example, might
have enjoyed cooking.
“I can take a simple recipe and ask what steps are involved,”
Activities ideally address not only social needs, but also
those involving physical, emotional and mental health.
Because of the pandemic, she and her team have had to
change things, working in smaller settings. Group activities
transitioned to socially distanced hallway or single activities.
Gone are the bell choir and the roomful of residents working
on crafts, playing bingo or watching a travel show. Gone are
sing-alongs with local performers. Even tougher has been
the restriction on visitors. Jeanty believes the resulting rise
in depression has been a factor in the increased numbers
of physical decline and deaths, whether or not it is directly
related to COVID-19.
“Coronavirus didn’t really hit us immediately,” she says.
“Before, we were able to have patio visits. We had a drive-by
parade with the Humane Society bringing animals and family
members waving signs.”
But whereas she used to schedule things like fishing trips,
bowling and lunches at restaurants, everything is now done
BY ELLEN GILLETTE