High school senior works to collect supplies for sensory bottles for nursing home residents


Throughout the country, nursing homes are facing spikes in cases of COVID-19 among residents, including homes in Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, and Washington. Because of this, precautions are being taken to ensure senior residents are protected against the virus that causes more serious illness in older people. 

Locally, senior residencies have gone on lockdown, only allowing employees access and restricting residents who leave their rooms to six feet away from one another. While many community members write letters or knit blankets, Victoria High School senior Zoe Miller is asking her community to help provide donations of supplies to create an activity for residents during the period of social distancing. 


Miller has worked as a CNA at Via Christi in Hays for the past 10 months and has grown close to the residents. During this time, she has seen the effect the new regulations have had on the residents and wants to provide them an understanding of the current situation and a way to calm themselves. 

“Some residents may get depressed and upset that they can’t see their family members,” Miller said. “I thought that if I could make these sensory bottles with the residents and have a conversation with them, it could help them.”

A sensory bottle is a tool used to help users self-regulate and calm down during difficult times. In them, different things can be added, such as glitter, beads, paper clips, etc. These objects are placed in a bottle filled with water, at which point, people can shake them and use them as a visual calm.

Currently, Miller is focusing on bringing these tools to Via Christi, but she has hopes that if it goes well, she can expand the idea to other facilities in the community. While the plans are still in the works right now, Miller has begun collecting donations by spreading the word on Facebook.

“Some ways community members could help is by donating empty 20 oz or 2-liter bottles or anything they can think of to put inside the bottle to entertain the residents,” Miller said.

Donations can be made or questions answered by contacting Shauna Chance by email at schance@hotmail.com or by phone at 785-632-1755. 

Miller plans to attend North Central Kansas Technical College in Hays next year and participate in FHSU’s gateway program with NCKTC.

Victoria High School senior Zoe Miller works as a CNA at Via Christi in Hays. Due to the new regulations from COVID-19, Miller is working to create sensory bottles for senior residents by using empty 20 oz or 2-liter bottles and items such as glitter, beads and paper clips. Donations can be made by contacting Shauna Chance by email at schance@hotmail.com or by phone at 785-632-1755.

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