Essay from a Senior Housing Community
Updated: May 28, 2020
By Beth Pratt, Community Relations Director, Park View Villas
As the rules have shifted slowly to stretch our distance from each other, further isolating our seniors in nursing and assisted living communities, those of us who work in senior housing have experienced amazing acts of kindness from our home towns. From donations of electronics to low income seniors to pen pals writing cards to residents, senior communities are feeling the love from their neighbors. Those of us at Village Concepts of Port Angeles, Park View Villas, both residents and staff, have certainly benefited from our neighbor’s kindnesses.
The team at First Baptist Church called during the first set of rules limiting the ability of our senior citizens to get out and about and offered to bring a list of contact numbers of people who would gladly run errands and shop for our residents.
When the next layer of rules came along, and our community had to close the dining room and most of our activity programs, we put out the call for neighbors who would like to be “Pen Pals” with a resident. We have received a couple of cards so far, and then a call came. An educator at Dry Creek Elementary School is working with her students now to participate in the project, connecting pen pals across generations.
Then the rules changed again. We had to severely limit the number of guests we could allow inside our building, so we asked for musical volunteers to perform outdoors. Within 24 hours, we had a schedule of guests for almost every day that week and the next, and the performers came. They played their sets three or four times, as we moved from one set of balconies and patios to the other, and residents came to doors and windows to watch and listen.
With the “Stay Home” order currently in effect, we have had to pause our music program for now. But everyone who was on that schedule? They have agreed to come when we can begin again – including youngsters from our local schools and professionals willing to donate their amazing gift of music.
So much has been discussed about protecting ourselves from viral infection, in protocols of sterilization and cleaning, and in making sure medical supplies and personal protection equipment is readily available, but there is more to the story. For our elders, who are experiencing the brunt of social isolation and quarantine measures, finding joy and laughter during the day is a vital need.
To our neighbors and friends, those of us at Park View Villas and at communities across Washington, we say THANK YOU for all you have done to gift kindness and smiles to our residents. Those of us who work everyday with our elders are passing your joy forward. We are playing games, having conversations, and sharing music in the hallways as we work. When this historic moment passes, it will be our honor to have you again as our guest, to invite you in to share your gifts of music and joy and laughter. Until that time, we send our wishes of good health and our deepest gratitude to you.
Elizabeth Pratt | Community Relations Director | Park View Villas 1430 Park View Lane Port Angeles, WA 98363 (360) 452-7222 | Fax: (360) 452-4958 | www.villageconcepts.com