As we close out October, we wanted to spend reflecting on our second whole month of virtual sessions. September has been a fantastic month for our groups and social workers. Our staff missed their work so much, so being able to return to working with our group members has been a blessing. What has been more incredible is the impact of our virtual groups. We have seen an increase in cognitive functioning, improvements in mood and coping and laughter… so much laughter!
So, what have we been doing? Here’s our month in review:
→ Our social workers are a traveling group and virtual sessions have been no exception! Often, we drop tablets off and then conduct our sessions in our car or outside, depending on weather. Here we have our Detroit Team working on cognitive functioning using flashcards. Of course, they had a great time!
→ Some of our groups have been able to take place outside, socially distanced of course! Our staff follow all safety protocol while also focusing on mental health goals with each group member. This is from our Clarkston team, where they played a group favorite, the Price of Right! Of course, we have to get that coffee cheer in there too! Our group members have enjoyed spending time with our staff, explaining that this year has been incredibly lonely and that spending time with people who understand has been amazing.
Another group favorite has been Tender Heart Bingo! This was created by one of our social workers and involves art supplies that our group members have used in previous sessions. We provide clues and hints and they use their memory-recall abilities to identify which item we are talking about. We focus on communication skills and memory-recall during Bingo sessions!
Tender Heart has always strived to serve group members in the best way possible and virtual sessions is no exception! We realized that we had group members that wanted to participate but couldn’t due to hearing loss. Typically in person, we can adjust our volumes and speak closely to their ears, meaning we can alleviate this problem for them. In virtual sessions, we needed to be creative! Each team is now equipped with bluetooth headphones which group members can use to hear sessions without problems.
Here’s what one of our staff members had to share: “PAM I CAN HEAR YOU!” Typically hearing is a huge barrier for this client. Today was an amazing session. Many smiles, laughs, thanks, and great conversation!”
During our sessions, we have been reflecting on difficult years in the past and how we dealt with it. One of our wonderful group members shared words of wisdom:
“I’ve found that life is easier when you make nothing a job, and everything a joy.”
She shared she applied this to even doing laundry. She said that she HATED laundry but she had always wanted a family. Each time she did laundry, she said she concentrated on the fact that lots of laundry meant she had a family she loved.
One of the biggest things that we’ve heard from our group members is that they miss creating! So we brought that to them; we created drawings and flower rings. Group members worked to help each other and followed directions step by step. Group members laughed and shared they enjoyed creating again, explaining “I haven’t felt accomplished in a long long time.”
We have had so much fun together in our groups and can’t wait to see what the rest of our year has in store!