A week or so ago (March 24th, 2019), some residents from our Surprise and Goodyear assisted living homes participated in a wonderful field trip. They joined players from the Desert Edge High School Football Team in Goodyear AZ for the last Spring Training game of the season at Goodyear Ballpark.
It was a picture perfect day in Goodyear. After all, there’s a reason Major League teams love coming to Arizona. Warm temps, cloudless skies and a gentle breeze made the outing especially enjoyable.
Putting together a big group outing with over 20 people takes a little planning. This definitely was NOT spur of the moment. The idea began when some of the staff from our Surprise and Goodyear assisted living homes reached out to local high schools. We wanted to see whether any kids wanted to perform their community service hours in an assisted living setting. One of the coaches, Jason Linn, reached out to us right away. He told us the head coach, Jose Lucero, is very interested in showing his boys how to lead by helping others. What a great idea!
We brainstormed a bunch of ideas and at the top of the list was a spring training game. We had to act a little quickly because the spring season ends in March. So we reached out to the Goodyear Ballpark. The people in ticket sales at the ballpark could not have been more helpful. They even gave us a wonderful discounted rate for the wheelchair section down the first base line.
Our residents at both our Surprise and Goodyear assisted living homes had to eat an early lunch. The game started just a little after noon, and we knew it would be pretty crowded. Coach Lucero and the players of the Desert Edge Scorpions met with us early to make sure everything was set and help pick up the tickets.
At the stadium it was indeed crowded. Everyone wanted to get one last game in the Arizona sunshine with their team before heading back to colder parts of the country. We had quite the parade line of wheelchairs and walkers moving through the crowd. Our caregivers from both the Surprise and Goodyear assisted living homes did a wonderful job of keeping everyone together.
A special thank you to the Goodyear Ballpark for providing a couple extra wheelchairs and volunteers to push them. Some of our residents can walk well on their own, but it was a long way to the seats. Plus the wheelchairs helped keep everyone together.
We arrived at our seats to find the Scorpion players already in place and ready to meet us. The wonderful young men paired off with each of our residents to watch the game and learn about each other. The football players could not have been more perfect gentlemen as they talked about life, football and their families and school. They also listened attentively as the residents talked to kids about all the experiences the residents had in their own lives.
It was a wonderful opportunity to watch the Cincinnati Reds square off against the Colorado Rockies. One of our residents grew up just outside of Cincinnati. He was a big Reds fan in his younger days. And you could tell by the look of glee on his face that he was excited to see his old team again.
Another one of our residents used to be a baseball coach. He provided us some expert analysis of what both pitchers could improve. Here is a sample:
In the middle of the 6thinning, the folks at the Goodyear Ballpark welcomed our A Paradise for Parents assisted living homes on the Jumbotron. How cool is that?
Staying Safe in a Crowded Environment
Families always worry when their elderly loved one is outside a safe place such as one of our Surprise and Goodyear assisted living homes. That’s why we took a bunch of extra precautions to make sure our residents could enjoy the game without worry.
It was essential to bring a couple of our highly-trained caregivers in case there were any medical problem. Not to mention they enjoyed the game as well. The caregivers all work in our homes on a daily basis, so they know the residents well.
We brought any medical supplies the residents might need, as well as a good amount of water to keep everyone hydrated. The residents also wore cool, loose-fitting clothes to make sure they would not overheat while still offering some sun protection. We still wanted them to have the sunshine give them a little Vitamin D!
Luckily we brought some umbrellas for the residents as well. Although the temps were in the mid-70s, you could still feel that Arizona sun. Using brightly colored umbrellas also helped find our group in the seats after a caregiver took our residents for a bathroom break.
Although it was a close game, we figured it might be a good idea to leave early to avoid the rush. The Rockies ended up beating the Reds 4-3 to the disappointment of our Cincinnati resident. But he was having a great time anyway. At least neither team scored any runs after we left.
Once again, the Desert Edge football players helped out tremendously moving some of the residents and wheelchairs to our transportation. It’s always good to have those handicap placards on our vehicles at times like these!
The players continued talking to our residents the whole way back and it seemed like nobody wanted the day to end. We all posed for pictures in the parking lot. Then it was time to say goodbye. The players headed back to their families and we drove our residents back to our Surprise and Goodyear assisted living homes.
When we arrived back at one of the Surprise assisted living homes, we asked our Reds fan if he was disappointed about the game. His reply warmed our hearts:
Disappointed? I just had the most fun I’ve had in a long time!
Thank You from Our Surprise and Goodyear Assisted Living Homes
What a wonderful day we had. We really appreciate and personally thank the staff and players from the Desert Edge High School Scorpion football team. These boys selflessly gave up their time to make it a very special day for our residents.
We would also like to thank all the volunteers and staff at the Goodyear Ballpark. They went out of their way to make sure all our residents really enjoyed themselves in a safe and fun environment.
We’re always looking for more ideas for activities. A couple of weeks ago, we went to a wonderful Chinese restaurant in Surprise. Any other ideas would be much appreciated. Just let us know in the comments below.
If you have an elderly family member that might need more care, please feel free to reach out and talk to us. We will try to answer all your questions. If we can’t answer them, we have an extensive network that probably can. Please reach out to us through our website, email, or call us at 623-295-9890. In the meantime – enjoy the regular baseball season!