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Local nursing homes are keeping their residents connected to their loved ones

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Social Distancing in Nursing Homes

(WBNG) -- With the coronavirus continuing to spread, nursing homes in our area are unable to accept visitors.

This can make for an especially isolating time for seniors.

"The only people they're seeing on a daily basis is staff. So we are their family right now," said director of therapeutic recreation at Good Shepherd Fairview Home, Lori Sciamanna.

Despite the situation, many facilities are putting in the extra effort to keep their residents connected and make them feel at home.

"We know it's important to take care of their physical needs, but we also recognize that it's just as important that we take care of their emotional and psychosocial needs," said Sciamanna.

Good Shepherd Fairview Home has given its residents access to iPads.

"The residents are so intrigued by the technology, something new and completely different for them," said Sciamanna.

It allows them to Facetime their families, who are also embracing it.

"They take resident around the home to show them renovations, they bring the dog out for the dog to do tricks, family members play the piano so the resident can have a sing-a-long," said Sciamanna.

Good Shepherd staff have even held photo shoots with residents, while they held signs reading, "We hear it's a jungle out there!"

"One of the things in photography is that people respond to having something that they can look out and it evokes such strong memories. So we wanted to be able to connect to the family in that way too," said Sciamanna.

Photo shoots are happening over at United Methodist Homes too. Through social media, residents are sending their messages to loved ones.

But the amusement doesn't end there.

"Some of the things we have been doing, of course one of the residents' favorites, hallway bingo, clown visits, positive thinking on the go, strolling guitar music by our executive director, even our wellness center has taken exercise to a new level doing hallway chicken dances and hokey pokey," said campus life director at United Methodist Homes Hilltop Campus, Faye Clark.

So while it's important to stay safe, it's also important to stay connected.

"Everybody is reaching in, and digging deep, and trying to find something new and different and exciting and innovative and helpful," said Sciamanna.

And as we all take this day by day, remember, time flies when you're having fun.

For more on the coronavirus, click here.

Annie Flaherty

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