by Jennifer Alexander Ruple
Susan Ochs chose Kingston of Sylvania for her residence a little less than a year ago. “When I first came here, I isolated myself and was mostly in my room alone. I was a schoolteacher for 41 years, and I just couldn’t sit around and do nothing. One day the activities director talked to me about getting more involved,” she recalled.
Kingston, located at 4125 King Rd., organizes a large variety of group activities for its residents and provides support for those who enjoy independent activities such as gardening, baking and card playing.
“The activities are fantastic here,” said Ochs. Today she fills her days participating in Silver Sneakers programs; playing bingo every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; and attending concerts by local musicians.
When new residents move in at Kingston, Ochs introduces herself and tries to get them involved in activities immediately. “We have a good group that participates, and we all look out for each other. I don’t want people to get stuck in their rooms like I was,” she said.A goal at Kingston is to provide socialization, exercise and spiritual programs for residents each day. To help determine what type of activities to offer, resident meetings are held. “We have a variety of people who live here, so our schedule is always changing based on their needs,” said Emily Roach, Kingston’s community relations specialist. “Our activities are tailor made to the people who live here,” she added.
Popular group activities offered are happy hours with live entertainment, refreshments and games; outings to restaurants and local shops; trips to the zoo, art museum, and Put-In-Bay; and chair yoga, or choga as it’s referred to by residents. “Virtual reality programs are extremely popular. Residents wear goggles to experience sky diving, swimming with sharks and world destinations. All our activities are resident driven – they pick what they want to do,” explained Roach.
Residents are also encouraged to participate in personal hobbies. Vava Campbell enjoys a small patio garden outside her apartment window that she planted and tends to daily. With the help of Kingston staff, Campbell picked out and purchased the plants including petunias, zinnias and geraniums at nearby Creque’s Greenhouse. “I always have to have flowers, and I like to be outside,” Campbell said. “It’s rewarding to work with your hands and then see the results. I love to watch my plants grow,” she added.
Many of Kingston’s programs are open to the public, and families are always welcome to attend events such as brunch and bingo and wine and canvas. “Some of our activities are also fundraisers to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association including a parking lot party to be held in September and a chili drive-through in October,” explained Roach. Groups from nearby YMCAs and senior centers are also welcome. “It’s important for the residents to feel like they are part of the community. And it’s important for the community to see what we’re about,” Roach said. “It feels good here, and we want everyone to experience it.”