LOGAN – Caregivers at Cache Valley nursing homes and rehabilitation centers are appealing to “artistic, musical, poetical people of all ages” for their assistance in helping elderly residents cope with coronavirus isolation.
“I work at Rocky Mountain Care in Logan,” says Emily Heap, an administrative assistant. “Our residents – like you – are locked down for their safety during this pandemic. They can have no visitors and no activities or even dine together. It’s hard on our residents and it’s exhausting for our staff who are working above and beyond to keep everyone’s spirits up and minds engaged.”
Like other local elder-care facilities, Rocky Mountain Care is now entering its fourth week of self-imposed isolation since the coronavirus outbreak in mid-March.
On Mar. 16, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance to nursing home managers to restrict all visitation to residents (with an exception of end-of-life situations); restrict the access of all volunteers and non-essential staff personnel; cancel all group activities and communal dining; and, implement active screening of residents and health-care providers for fever and respiratory symptoms.
CDC experts say those restrictions are necessary since nursing home residents typically fall within the population segment most vulnerable to serious illness as a result of the coronavirus (defined as “older adults, often with underlying chronic medical conditions”).
But Heap says that caregivers also need the help of talented people throughout Cache Valley to safeguard the emotional well-being of nursing home and assisted living center residents.
“It would mean a lot to all of us,” she explains, “if you could share your talents with us at this time. You can send stories, poems, letters; photos of your artwork or artwork by your children; recordings of your songs; or, videos of you reading an inspirational passage or short story.”
Heap’s appeal for artistic submissions was initially distributed a week ago via Facebook, letters to residents’ families and word-of-mouth. Since then, about 25 responses have been received, including amateur music videos, letters, artwork and children’s classroom assignments.
Heap says that she and her co-workers are sharing those submissions with their charges to provide both a mental distraction and a reassuring sense that they are not alone in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
“The residents are coming out one-at-a-time into the hallways to see the artwork and letters we’re posting on a daily basis,” Heap adds. “We’re downloading the music and videos on digital tablets and distributing those to our residents. It’s really brightening their days.”
But Heap adds that many more artistic submissions are needed, since there is no end to the coronavirus lockdown in sight.
“We’re teaming up with other (elder-care) facilities in Cache Valley to share whatever we receive,” Heap emphasizes, “so your talents will be helping out so many people in need.
“Please E-mail your inner voice and your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.”