Oak Park celebrates National Bingo Day

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, June 28, 2022

SALISBURY — It was a leis and toes-in-the-sand kind of day Monday at Oak Park retirement community when residents celebrated National Bingo Day with beach bingo.

“So many of our residents can’t get to the beach anymore,” said Sales and Marketing Director Christina Helm. “I wanted them to be able to sit with their feet in the sand.”

Most of the 50 or so participants were busy listening for the letters and numbers that would garner prizes if they won, but all the faces wore smiles.

Helm said bingo is “huge among seniors,” and she wanted to give residents an opportunity to invite guests to participate. “This is home, and any chance we have for them to invite the community in for a joint celebration, we’ll take it.”

Several chairs with beach sand and umbrellas were set up in common areas, and three separate bingo areas offered table seating and a collection of prizes.

Helm, who has been at the residence for 13 years, said she views it more as a “mission than a job at this point,” because her goal these days is to help people “plan for the transition in their lives so it is a choice, and not something they do when they have no choice.”

Oak Park is an entirely independent, non-medical facility, with its highest number of residents to date at 125. Only four apartments currently remain. And not all residents are former Salisbury residents; many come from New York and Florida, said Helm.

Gray and Carla Jones, formerly of Tyro, moved into their new apartment three months ago and “absolutely love it,” said Carla. “We have two bedrooms and it’s a beautiful place, we are very happy to be here.” Gray is disabled, she said, so home ownership was no longer a practical choice. But moving into Oak Park didn’t mean leaving friends behind, as three had come to join them in the bingo play.

“It’s wonderful to see so many have come out to participate in the bingo, have some things to nibble on, and enjoy each other’s company,” said Activities Coordinator Gina Grubb.