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Seniors in Schuylkill County finish bucket lists

A nursing home in Schuylkill County is giving its residents a dream summer vacation in a unique way.

POTTSVILLE, Pa. — From visiting Hollywood to riding a motorcycle, residents at the Schuylkill Center are able to live out their dreams without leaving Pottsville.

“We're doing a whole week called 'A dream is a wish your heart makes.' So, we're trying to make wishes come true for some of our residents. My staff went around and talked to everyone and asked them what their wishes were,” said Helen Kimmel, activities director at the Schuylkill Center.

“Their dreams, it was interesting to hear about their dreams because some of them were so simple, and some of them I thought, 'How are we ever going to do this?” added Jacquelyn Smallwood, resident council president.

To entice residents in the nursing home to participate in activities, the staff is putting on programs to allow residents to cross things off their bucket lists.

“We're showing them that it's OK to get out of your room, and it's OK to live because a lot of the reason why they weren't coming out is because they were afraid,” Kimmel said.

Decorating rooms throughout the nursing home and serving treats to fit the theme every day has helped allow the residents to go back to pre-pandemic life.

“It gives them a reason to get up every day, especially after the last two years. You know, they were stuck in their rooms for all of that time. Now, they look forward to getting up. And they're looking at their calendar, ‘What are we doing today? When do we get to do this? When do we get to start?’ They're excited to be alive.” Kimmel mentioned.

“We need to have things that are changing all the time, bringing back different memories, giving us something to talk about. We'll talk about this for quite some time.” Smallwood said.

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