RANGELY I Eagle Crest Assisted Living residents thought they were going for a leisurely drive when they loaded up in the Rangely Rambler earlier this month.
And at first, they were. But after cruising around for some time, residents were surprised to find themselves being dropped off at Rangely District Hospital.
“We didn’t know where we were going—the bus driver said, ‘I’ll take you on a ride to see all the snow,’” 83-year-old resident Ruthann Chavez said. “We went down around the river and ended up at the hospital.”
It was all part of a plan carried out by Eagle Crest staff on Feb. 12.
“We just decided to do something for the residents,” Eagle Crest director Andrea Adams said. “Everyone wanted to get them all out a little bit. The cooks dressed up like clowns and we came in with balloons. We had tables set out for people to visit and eat.”
The excursion was part of Eagle Crest’s first annual Winter Carnival, complete with concessions, game booths and a prize stand.
Sixteen residents participated in the carnival, some chatting with neighbors while sipping Cokes and munching nachos. Others complemented winged sunglasses and colorful bead strands with painted cheeks. Still others racked up enough tickets at the duck pond, spin-the-wheel and bottle-topple booths to turn them in for bath and body kits and DVDs of old Westerns.
Adams said that what started as a way to get residents out of the building for a time — by going out for lunch or a drive — turned into something more.
“I have a thing for wanting to do parties, so it went from just getting out to doing something a lot bigger,” Adams said. “(The project) went into a whole lot more with help from all of my great staff.”
Chavez, who has lived at Eagle Crest for over a year, said the element of surprise made the event especially fun.
“We didn’t know what we were doing at the hospital,” Chavez said. “Once we got there, we had a ball. Part of the fun was not knowing where we were going.”
Adams said that Eagle Crest staff holds special events for residents regularly, among them holiday meals, barbecues and outings. Residents’ families are often invited to the gatherings.
But they’re not the only ones who can join in on Eagle Crest activities. Volunteers are welcome to come sing, play games or just visit with residents during the week.
“It’s always nice to have more people in here,” Adams said. “This is (the residents’) home, so they love having visitors and things to spice it up and keep it new.”