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This is not the punchline to a pachyderm joke. On June 21 at 2 p.m., residents of GreenFields had front row viewing and real-time interaction with the staff and residents of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Through an initiative called eWOW (Exploring the World Our Way), the virtual visitors from GreenFields explored the elephant rescue site from the comfort of their own home.
eWOW was developed by the life enrichment team at GreenFields of Geneva earlier this year. “A great number of our residents have been lifelong travelers,” said Kathryn (Kat) Schumpert, life enrichment manager for the senior living community. “While many still travel, others stay closer to home. This is just one more way for all our residents to continue to see the world. We are committed to providing lifelong learning opportunities to our residents. Our residents are fascinated by technology and so putting travel, history, and technology all together in this package is just a great combination.”
eWOW kicked off earlier this year with a step back in time to the Boston Tea Party Museum and Ships. Subsequent adventures have included Wyoming State Museum and Cleveland Museum of Art. Later this summer the residents will ‘dive’ the Great Barrier Reef.
The residents have been very enthusiastic about eWOW, which is promoted with themed activities and events from other GreenFields departments. “Since the Elephant Sanctuary is in Tennessee, the dining services department featured some Southern fare,” said Emily Abrahamson, lifestyle coordinator at GreenFields. “The different departments really enjoy helping support this initiative.”
Friendship Senior Options Foundation is sponsoring the eWOW initiative and made a $200 donation on behalf of GreenFields to the Elephant Sanctuary. “At the top of the Sanctuary’s wish list are pedicures and foot care as this helps promote the overall health of the elephants, so that’s how we’re requesting the donation be directed,” said Emily. GreenFields resident Vi Barretto, who as a teenager rode an elephant in the Barnum and Bailey Circus.
“When we first contacted the different destinations about eWOW, some of them had similar interactive virtual visits for school-age children, but we’re charting new territory with our programs for seniors,” said Kat. “The organizations are excited to customize the experience for the more mature audience.