The coronavirus (COVID-19) has recently changed many elements of our daily life, and that includes the lives of those living in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. These individuals often rely on visitors to keep them company, and due to recent circumstances, many facilities are discouraging or suspending non-medically necessary visits.
But even with new standards in place, many organizations are going above and beyond to make their residents feel loved and supported.
Hear from two Netsmart associates as they share their mothers’ unique experiences in their respective assisted living facilities:
“My mom’s 81st birthday is March 20. She is an Alzheimer’s resident at a fantastic Memory Care Unit in Olathe, Kansas. Recently, the resident care coordinator reached out to me with a handful of questions and to offer some wonderful ideas regarding how to celebrate during this time.
First, I was asked about my mom’s favorite lunch or dinner. I replied a steak or ‘good’ hamburger. When she asked what good meant, I proceeded to tell her a quarter pound of meat, mustard, onion and extra pickles. When she asked about what drink to pair with the meal, I replied a chocolate malt with extra malt! She stated a good hamburger it will be.
Once the meal was decided upon, she continued to ask about her favorite cake. I replied white frosting with coconut and a yellow cake with lemon filling. She replied, ‘Done.’
Finally, she offered something that surpassed all the great things above—the opportunity for our families (my two sisters and mine) to Facetime with her on her birthday. This is a blessing, as there really is no way to reach out to my mom except to go in person, which cannot happen right now.
I am truly touched by the generosity of the providers to take care of ‘Miss Vicki’ as they call her. Her inability to utilize even the simplest of technology is difficult to watch, as she was well ahead of her time and utilized technology to make a living her entire life.”
Scott Knackstedt, General Manager, Client Alignment Post-Acute
“My mom recently moved to assisted living from out of state. Everything is new and different for her, except my son and me. My son usually visits four to five times a week, and I visit two to four times. With the recent lockdown, we are no longer able to drop in and visit or take her to dinner. This change made me concerned about her feeling lonely or abandoned.
I recently saw a social media post of a man visiting with his father via phone through the windows of his care facility. I thought it was a great idea, so I copied it!
I called Mom from the parking lot and had her come to the window. Her initial confusion turned to excitement when she realized she could see me. We had a great 20-minute chat! It felt a little silly at first, but we both enjoyed the visit. Mom was happy to ‘see’ me, and it felt good to make her happy.
While it was chilly on my side of the glass, it was completely worth it to hear her perk up! Mom mentioned she missed the dogs (yes, they’re more appealing than I am!) so my son is taking his dogs to ‘visit’ soon.
Hopefully it won’t be long until we can visit face-to-face, but for now, this is a good alternative!”
Shelly Jarchow, Senior Manager, Proposals
While sometimes challenging, it’s important to remain positive and look for things that bring joy to ourselves and others. From the providers that are going the extra mile to the loved ones who are finding news ways to stay connected, we’re amazed by how humanity, love and appreciation continue to shine through.