A flight to Germany from Pennsylvania would typically take close to nine hours, but for the senior residents at Academy II Apartments, it was just a short walk to the community room. Earlier this year, the property manager at Academy II, Alison Boga, worked with her supportive services coordinator to come up with a way to show her residents the world. “During covid, so many wonderful places started doing virtual tours, so we thought that would be a great way for us to bring other parts of the world to our property!”
Their most recent adventure was to explore Germany during Octoberfest, and residents – who brought empty suitcases for their “plane ride” – were excited to use their homemade passports to travel. Greeted by the flight attendants, residents boarded the plane and soon landed in Germany, where they tasted Bavarian pretzels, spaetzle, schnitzel, and the German soda, Spezi. A couple of residents, who happened to be of German descent, raved about the food and reminisced that it was how their grandmothers used to make it.
Together, the residents viewed videos on the traditions of Octoberfest, learned a few German words, and practiced the polka. They ended their trip with a taste of German candy called nippon, which is made of chocolate and puffed rice cereal, and a trip to the free souvenir shop, where they each received a German flag, postcard, pin, and keychain.
“After these virtual trips are over, I go back to my office and can hear the residents still mingling and laughing in the community room, talking about all that they saw and learned. These events are so wonderful for them, as many of them have not had the chance to travel the world,” Alison explained. “This is our way to give them a new experience and bring them together as a community. When I see them having the time of their lives, I know I’ve done my job.”