Taking inspiration from one of her favourite television shows, Rocky View Lodge’s social and leisure coordinator Brenda Campbell introduced a special theme to engage residents at the Crossfield-based senior’s living facility this November.
“We are doing a whole month of Survivor, based on the TV show that’s been on for 20 years,” she explained.
According to Campbell, throughout the month of November, residents of Rocky View Lodge have been divided into four tribes. Together, the teams have been taking each other on in a series of games and activities.
While there’s no voting anyone off the island or blind-siding each other at Tribal Council to worry about, Campbell said the month has included plenty of other features from the long-standing reality show. She said she hides an “idol” every few days for residents to try and find, and the members of each tribe wear their team “buff” around either their head or their neck during challenges.
As well, Campbell said each team has a tiki torch to carry when they come to the activities, complete with red-and-orange tissue paper to act as the torches’ flame.
“We’re not voting anyone off any island. We don’t want to have any negative connotations,” she said. “What we’re doing instead is offering points for teams that win any events, plus we’re offering points to individuals who win or find an idol."
At the end of the month, she added, prizes will be doled out to the teams and challenge beasts that earn the most points.
Campbell said she has been an avid watcher of Survivor, which recently started airing its 41st season following a year-long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That’s probably what sparked my idea to do [this] for our residents,” she said.
Though none of Rocky View Lodge’s residents shared Campbell’s enthusiasm for the show prior to this month, she said they have been quick to get on board with the theme.
“They show up for the games, I tell them what we’re doing, and they just go along with it,” she said. “It’s funny how the spirit of competition really sets in so quickly.”
Some of the activities Rocky View Lodge residents have taken part in are similar to the immunity challenges completed on the show, according to Campbell. As an example, she said one task had the teams pull in a rope and untie a series of knots before completing a small jigsaw puzzle.
Other challenges included elements from games like Jenga and Kerplunk.
“I just make it up as I go to keep it fun and engaging and so everyone gets to play,” Campbell said, adding the games are designed in a way that everyone at the lodge can compete, regardless of their mobility.
Coming up with unique and creative ideas to keep residents entertained has been a hallmark of Rocky View Lodge since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Campbell. Other themed ideas she has come up with included an Olympic Games-style competition, a virtual travelling tour, and Rocky View Lodge University, which saw residents “go back to school” to take lessons on various subjects.
Campbell said the pandemic and the isolation that came with it in senior homes has forced the lodge’s staff to be creative when it comes to helping keep morale high among residents.
“We really found that by having some kind of competition and activities, as opposed to regular stuff, we had way more attendance and the residents got way more hyped up because they wanted to beat the other teams,” she said.
“There’s a lot of depression and listlessness just because of how much we’ve been regulated and restricted. By offering something [like Survivor Month], it brings everyone out of their shells again.”
Survivor Month will wrap up on Nov. 29 with a luncheon and awards ceremony where the winning tribe will be announced. According to Campbell, the luncheon will include a feast of kebabs, rice, fruit, and a dessert.