COVID-19 has changed the lives of all staff and Veterans at the St. Cloud VA Health Care System.

The Veterans in the Community Living Center are staying safe on their units. The Recreation Therapy department is offering numerous creative and flexible recreation and leisure activities to enhance and normalize their lives as much as possible.

With the main goal of improving their quality of life, the staff offers activities to both inpatient and outpatient Veterans.

Pictured above are buddies Otto and Harry who met two years ago. They have made over 50 custom bird houses during the last few weeks on their ward.

Veterans enjoy assembling a model car in their rooms.

Inpatient Veteran activities include:

  • Virtual video visits with the Veteran’s families and loved ones.
  • Individualized visits with each Veteran once a week.
  • Custom canteen runs with specific orders that medical staff deliver to the Veterans.
  • Helping Veterans write letters to send home to their families.
  • Stationary exercise equipment for Veterans to exercise, including hand cycles, ski machine, and cardio equipment.
  • Facilities broadcast TV programs from the Chapel channel to all Community Living Centers and Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program TVs, such as bingo, exercise, trivia, and sing-a-longs.
  • Preparing the garden area for planting flowers and tomatoes by tilling, pulling weeds, and loosening up the dirt.
  • Television virtual chair yoga that Veterans can do from their room.
  • Painting, varnishing, and staining projects including ceramics, boxes, and ornaments.

Outpatient Veteran activities available include:

  • Virtual chair yoga and tai chi classes through videos that are sent to Veterans.
  • Staff send craft kits to Adult Day Health Care Veterans who are at home. Signing them up for subscriptions for kits to be delivered via mail.

Jackie Stevenson is a public affairs specialist for the St. Cloud VA Medical Center.

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Published on Jul. 31, 2020

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