Sundale celebrates National Nursing Home Week with petting zoo

MORGANTOWN — It’s National Nursing Home Week and the residents at Sundale Nursing Home are spending their days enjoying an array of activities.
Tuesday, a petting zoo came to the facility. Llamas, lambs, goats and puppies made an appearance. Residents and their families could feed the animals and spend some time together.
According to the American Health Care Association, the weeklong celebration shines a light on skilled nursing centers, and their residents and staff, by exhibiting how they achieve happy minds and healthy souls with a theme centered on living soulfully.
“We want to promote and show our community that long-term care facilities are a good place to live. It’s not something negative, it’s very positive,” said Donna Tennant, with Admissions and Marketing at Sundale.
She said the residents get to do a lot of fun things during National Nursing Home Week, including a picnic and a tea party — which was Mother’s Day.
“People come here to really live, and to enjoy life and that’s what we try to promote,” she said.
Tennant said they generally have the petting zoo at Sundale about every other year. Even though Monday was a bit chilly, it didn’t stop residents from going outside to see, pet and bottle-feed the animals.
Erica Sengewalt, a physical therapist at the facility, and Lea Makefta, an occupational therapist, spent time with the residents
as they visited with the
animals. Sengewalt said
it’s nice to see the
residents outside and excited about something fun and different.
“You can see how much they perk up with animals,” Makefta said.
Sengewalt and Makefta said it means a lot to see the residents out and enjoying life, which is what National Nursing Home Week is
all about.
On Thursday, Sengewalt said, there will be a carnival, complete with funnel cakes. Also on the agenda is a trip to the Sagebrush Roundup so residents can enjoy live country music.
“You become really close to people here when you work with them every day, so they almost become part of your family. When you see them happy and perk up, it means a lot. It’s nice to see them enjoy things,” Sengewalt said.

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