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End of pandemic coincides with rise in social well-being

Alyssa Colter, life enrichment director

“It’s so exciting to hear laughter and chit-chat again,” said Alyssa Colter, the life enrichment director at Topeka Presbyterian Manor.

She has noticed a definite improvement in the social wellness of Presbyterian Manor residents since the advent of vaccinates and easing of pandemic-era restrictions.

“We’re all looking at things differently now,” Alyssa said. “And the residents have been through a lot together.

She said that activities are better attended than before the pandemic and she has noticed residents encouraging their neighbors to join in.

“They have banded together and are really there to support each other,” Alyssa said. “It’s kind of an amazing thing.”

A 9-year employee at Presbyterian Manor, Alyssa worked her way up from her first job as a certified nursing assistant. She has also worked in medical records and central supply.

One of the new initiatives she has implemented is a “free hour.”

“Through all of the pandemic, choices were restricted,” Alyssa said. “I want them to have the chance to take back control and decide what they want to do as a group.”

She said her approach is to give the residents “more of a voice and more of a choice” in the activities they do, while still being cautious. Since the weather has been nice, many activities have taken place outside, including gardening and sharing treats such as root beer floats and popsicles.

“Sometimes we just sit outside and soak that sun up,” Alyssa said.

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