Golden West staff have been working hard to come up with new ways to keep residents mentally, physically and emotionally engaged during the pandemic, but without a doubt, the most popular new initiative has been regular virtual programming via Golden West’s in-house TV system, Channel 14.
Residents have always loved our internal TV station, said Director of Resident Programs Jill Moore, which broadcasts a regular weekly lineup of live events and classes, plus a scrolling menu of updates, announcements and daily activity schedules through the community’s LifeShare system.
But having an in-house TV channel broadcasting on TVs in the lobby and every resident’s room has been especially helpful during COVID-19, because it offers activities and experiences residents can participate in safely without leaving their apartments.
Although Golden West has held summer social distancing activities like live outdoor concerts, where local musicians set up instruments, microphones and speakers outside, just over the Golden West property line, this is not feasible all the time. That’s why having the ability to broadcast TV activities is so convenient, said Jill.
“We can’t have group activities at all at this point, so the programs department is really trying to keep people busy and make sure everyone has things to do while they are in their apartments more ,” she said. “So now I have this video camera that I connect to our in-house TV system, and I can broadcast live whatever I want to do.”
Regular shows Jill films or broadcasts live include exercise classes, an in-house cooking show hosted by dining staff, a weekly Zoom church service, virtual trips using online resources, like a hike through the redwood forest, pre-recorded TED talks followed by a Zoom call to discuss the topic, YouTube singalongs with televised lyrics for various genres of music, and more.
Jill also reads aloud over the channel; right now, residents can tune in to listen to Jill read At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon. She also sets up Zoom lunches for residents once a week.
“I send out an invitation for people who are interested in being a part of it. Everyone has their own lunch, and for 45 minutes we sit and eat and just visit. It’s been really fun, and people love it,” said Jill. “So that has been really popular.”
Due to popular demand, Jill also recently launched a new resident interview series, in part because her Reel People video series, where she interviews residents and staff over Zoom, was so popular.
“Many residents were asking if we could do that more, but with residents interviewing other residents in the building,” said Jill. “We’ve been doing it as a way of connecting and introducing people who might be new or people who have been around but whom you may not have met yet”
Golden West Channel 14 shows are more popular than ever these days, said Jill, and residents can expect the new lineup of shows and interactive broadcasts to continue long after the pandemic ends. According to Jill, the programs department plans to continue taping live events and broadcasting regular live shows even when social distancing restrictions are no longer in place.