‘It was really good to see her and we had wonderful conversations.’
For the first time in four months, Brookdale Assisted Living is offering porch visits outside the nursing home.
“It was wonderful to see my mom,” Weatherford resident Stacy Cummins said. “We did window visits, talked on the telephone and did FaceTime. We want to keep her healthy and we love her very much.”
Stacy’s mom is Agnes Norman who is 91. Stacy and her daughter Kelsey got to see her mom for the first time since March. Agnes did her makeup, did her hair and got ready for the Cummins to come visit.
“She looked beautiful,” Stacy said. “It was really good to see her and we had wonderful conversations. I am used to seeing her every day in person, so it has been really hard. As long as she is healthy and we are all healthy, this is the best we can do and it was great to see her.”
Agnes turned 91 during the COVID-19 quarantine and the family did not get to celebrate her birthday in person, but they did a window visit. They made posters and talked to her on her birthday.
“We keep the window visits positive, because I do not want to show any sadness,” Stacy said. “I want my mom to stay strong and healthy, which is very important.”
Brookdale Associate Executive Director Legend Tate said, with individual states starting to “open up,” and in some cases allowing outdoor visits, Brookdale continues to be conservative in its approach.
There are a number of safety guidelines necessary when setting up these visits. Brookdale has developed a comprehensive plan providing each community, information to implement modifications to their practices while helping to maintain everyone’s safety, Tate said. The plan may include, among other things, having associates nearby to assist during outdoor visits with families, processes for sanitization and specific scheduling to assure timing of visits.
“We will continue to follow the guidance of the CDC, local and state public health officials, and state licensing agencies to gradually and safely make accommodations for outdoor visits,” Tate said. “Because individual state and local governments have established different directives on reopening, decisions on relaxing restrictions have to be made on a communityby-community basis, always with safety in mind.”
With Brookdale meeting those criteria, they were able to begin outdoor visits. The porch visits benefit the residents greatly. This allows residents to finally see their families face-to-face and be in their presence, Tate said.
While phone calls, FaceTime and window visits do allow for them to stay connected, there’s nothing which can beat a face-toface interaction. Even though they cannot physically touch, there is just something about seeing their loved one in person which really lifts their spirits, Tate said.
“We are taking the COVID-19 situation extremely seriously as the health and well-being of our residents, patients and associates is our top priority,” Tate said. “Our associates have had a lot of success during these last couple of months providing creative and engaging programming activities for our residents, while maintaining social distancing guidelines.”
Families and residents have had a great response. Even with the continued safety protocols of masks and social distancing, they still are ecstatic getting to see each other in person, Tate said. This is a positive step that shows that we are moving forward and finding a sense of normal through COVID-19.
Spokespersons with Weatherwood Assisted Living and Corn Heritage Rehab said they are looking into allowing limited visitation, but are following CDC Guidelines and may make a decision Friday.