The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of many, especially those living in senior care communities. At Jerome Home, a skilled nursing home within New Britain providing quality care to 120 residents, creative connections have been fostered to combat the isolation of social distancing. The recreation department has orchestrated various clever, creative and meaningful activities that eliminate the sense of disconnect.
Facetime/Skype is an excellent interactive mode of communication for seniors to visually see their loved ones. At Jerome Home we have even extended this concept to pet therapy visits. Our pet therapy golden retriever dog, “Mr. Blue,” and his handler, Don White, have had visits using Facetime at the bedside of residents. Our folks light up at the sight of Mr. Blue and even reach out to touch the tablet to pet him. We have encouraged families to come and visit their loved ones by their bedroom window.
We have even used the Jerome Home Facebook platform to extend our well wishes to our families. Most residents were given the opportunity to showcase a message on a white board and held it up for a photo. Some messages were personal, while others were light-hearted. On St. Patrick’s Day, we had a bagpiper in full uniform walk the perimeter of the building while playing. The true Irish spirit was embraced. Weekly we do a travelling happy hour cart with specialty non-alcoholic drinks and snacks. An ice cream travelling cart also ventures the hallways regularly.
Most recently, the New Britain Police Department visited as a goodwill gesture. Collectively five of the finest positioned their cruiser throughout the campus and simultaneously played their sirens for 30 seconds to alert everyone while waving. The attention drew residents and staff to dash to the windows. After their siren play, the police officers paraded around the building waving and touching the hearts of our residents. Some residents even made signs stating, “Thank you for your service,” “Stay healthy” and “Thanks for keeping me safe.”
Jerome Home staff is striving to ensure that the residents are not isolated from each other, families and the Greater Community of New Britain.