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Memory Garden January Look Back

The year 2020 is upon us and January has been an enthusiastic start to this promising new year. Memory Garden has been buzzing with activities, some new and some tried & true.

Music entertainment is a resident favorite, so we brought in a wide variety of talents. Tim Stockman was so well received last month, we invited him back for more fun. We had a surprise and very welcome visit from Russ Keyser. Jeaneen Jaynes entertained us with her fabulous piano playing. We also enjoyed the beautiful singing voice of Cindy Sue. Angelo Alaimo joined us again with his harmonica talents. At the monthly birthday party, Lucille Miller played some of our residents favorite old piano tunes. Dave Johnson stopped by with his accordion and guitar for his monthly visit. Don Sandy had our residents clapping to his lively polka tunes at coffee house every Wednesday morning. On Wednesday afternoons, Spencer Drake brings his guitar encouraging everyone to sing along to familiar favorites.

For our lunch outing this month the residents enjoyed the retro vibes of the Fifties Diner. We had a big pizza party for residents and staff to reward their impressive efforts and participation in the Christmas decorating contest. First floor was the big winner but it was such a close call the judges decided everyone deserved a pizza party!

What a great turn out we had for our monthly tea party. Donning our festive tea hats, our residents indulged in home made cookies with their tea and tapped their toes to some good ole big band music. Our Memory Garden residents ventured over to Tanglewood’s dining room to join them for an early Superbowl party.  Everyone had a fabulous time devouring delicious food and enjoying great company.

We started a new weekly activity this month that received great reviews from our residents. Patrick Walsh, our fitness instructor, joins us every Thursday morning now for chair yoga. While sitting in chairs, the residents perform gentle yoga movements as instructed by Patrick. Mary Shmidt visits every Friday morning for “Music with Mary”, which involves sing alongs, music games or rhythm circles.

On National Chocolate Cake Day our baking group made some decadent mini chocolate cheesecakes. We celebrated National Cuddle Up Day by snuggling up with a cup of warm cocoa and reading some inspirational short stories. On National Trivia Day we of course had fun answering a variety of random trivia questions.

For a craft this month our residents made some sparkly little sun catchers, using colored glass gems and embedding them into a clear glue. They turned out great and look so pretty hanging in the windows.

We tried a couple of new games this month . One was the Mexico dice game. Each player rolls two dice and the lowest roll is eliminated. The last remaining player wins. The other new game was the snowman dice game. The players split up into two teams. Each number on the dice represents a different part of the snowman. Players take turns rolling the dice, trying to be the first team to complete their snowman.

During our faux snowball fight our residents had a blast lobbing fluffy oversized cotton balls at each other, bringing out the kid in everybody! We had a magazine scavenger hunt which involves the residents trying to find certain items in magazines. The team that cuts out the most items wins! “What’s Next?” is always a fun activity. After being given part of a common phrase, song or nursery rhyme, the residents have to guess what comes next.

We brought out a bunch of our favorite games such as Bingo, shuffleboard, bowling and ring toss. Our residents got real physical playing balloon volleyball (try to keep the balloons in the air by batting them back and forth to each other), kickball (while sitting around in a circle, players kick the ball to each other), frisbee golf (try to throw the frisbee into the basket) and cornhole (toss beanbags into the hole on the game board). Snowball toss was a lot of fun (toss the faux snowballs into the holes on the cardboard snowman for different point values), as well as beanbag Twister (use the Twister spinner to decide which color dots to toss the beanbags onto for different point values).

The residents did a great job guessing what we were drawing on the white board as we played Pictionary. They also put there thinking caps on for word games like Name 10 (name ten items in a given category), Rhyme Time (how many words can you think of that rhyme with a given word), Word in word (how many different words can you make using the letters of one large word) and Hangman.

It’s hard to believe January is already over. It’s been a flurry of snow as well as good times and we’re looking forward to what’s coming around the corner in February! If you have any questions or comments for upcoming activities, please contact Margaret Wright, Memory Garden Activities Coordinator at (716)488-9434 ext 2226, or email at