Fun in the sun: Handmaker residents get out and about

Angela Salmon has been leading seniors on adventures in the Tucson community for more than ten years with the Handmaker Adventure Bus program. This innovative program is designed for people experiencing the early stages of diminished memory capacity, and as a respite option for caregivers. Bi-weekly social and cultural indoor programs and day trips are offered to various events and destinations in Tucson and the surrounding areas. The program includes docent guided tours of exhibits and museums, creative self-expression activities, a healthy and delicious lunch, and plenty of conversation and socialization throughout the day.

The program took a 14-month hiatus during the high transmission of the initial COVID outbreak but restarted in May 2021 with inside days only at Handmaker. Outings resumed six months later in November, and the program has been running at full steam since.

A few years ago, Handmaker Assisted Living residents got their own version of Adventure Bus with the Out and About and Around the World programs, also led by Angela Salmon, now the Activity Department Director. Twice a month, residents learn about different places around the world, share stories of their own travel experiences, and then get creative with a fun craft activity related to that destination. Pre-COVID they were taking trips out into the community twice a month. They were so excited when the trips outdoors resumed a few months ago, as they were able to take advantage of our beautiful winter weather once again.

Since December, they have visited Tohono Chul Park, Reid Park, Agua Caliente Park, Saguaro National Park East, and Gates Pass. Upcoming trips are planned to the JCC’s sculpture garden, Mission Gardens and Sweetwater Wetlands. As COVID recedes further, and it gets warmer out, Angela hopes to take the group to some indoor venues as well, including the Tucson Jewish History Museum.

And starting again next month, Handmaker residents will begin taking their weekly shopping trips to nearby grocery stores. They are all so happy to be getting back out into the community!

Handmaker recently received the 2021 Arizona Daily Star Readers’ Choice Award for Best Skilled Nursing/Rehab Facility and Best Continuing Care Retirement Community.