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They came ‘face-to-face’ with Leonie, an adult leopard shark. In addition to visiting exotic marine life at the Great Barrier Reef, they’ve encountered grizzlies at Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, made acquaintance with pachyderms at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, viewed Rodin’s The Thinker sculptural masterpiece at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and more.
Due to the wonders of modern technology, residents of GreenFields of Geneva retirement community have had these monthly virtual rendezvouses from the comfort of their own beautiful home. Earlier this year, the life enrichment team at GreenFields launched its Exploring the World Our Way (eWOW) program, a unique initiative through which residents have the opportunity to experience extraordinary destinations via Skype and Zoom.
During their most recent excursion which took them to the Great Barrier Reef Aquarium in Queensland, Australia, they had a guided tour, encountering a variety of sharks along with damselfish guarding their offspring, a giant trevally, anemone fish, sea cucumbers, surgeonfish, rabbitfish, sea urchins and more.
“We are committed to providing lifelong learning opportunities to our residents, many of who are fascinated by technology and travel. Creating eWOW which puts travel, history, and technology together, is just a great combination that the residents really enjoy,” said Kathryn (Kat) Schumpert, life enrichment manager for GreenFields. “We promote excitement for each program through special events including themed dining. In anticipation of this past eWOW, our dining services department featured Great Barrier Reef whitefish almondine and sides with an Australian flair.
eWOW is a creative innovation for more than just the residents of the senior living community. “When we contact the different destinations, some report that while they have similar interactive virtual visits for school-age children, we’re charting new territory with our programs for seniors,” said Emily Abrahamson, life enrichment coordinator. “The organizations are excited to customize the experience for the more mature audience.”
Because of eWOW’s tremendous success, the residents will be virtually joined by residents of GreenFields’ sister community, Friendship Village of Schaumburg beginning this month. Future adventures include Aspen Museum of Art in Colorado, Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., and the 911 Tribute Museum in New York.