Nursing homes, assisted living facilities adapt to pandemic

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)— The elderly population is among the most vulnerable groups when it comes to contracting Covid-19.

Nursing homes and Assisted Living Facilities limited access to visitors early on during the pandemic. As time has gone on facilities like Carlyle Place found ways to adapt to CDC Guidelines.

Tara Johnson — the dementia programs and social services manager for Carlyle Place — says thinking outside the box is a team effort. The assisted living facility wants to make sure their residents stay active but in a safe way.

“We can’t all hit the same ball or balloon back and forth, so what are some other things?” asked Johnson. “We’ve done a lot of reminiscing, we’ve learned to enjoy Paul Harvey clips and then use those to talk about some famous actor or actress.”

They created a visitation booth for their residents to use. The booth has clear glass between them and their visitors so they can still see their loved ones safely.

Johnson said they have also done a lot of virtual visits with family members who live far away.

“We’ve gotten really good at setting up FaceTime and Zoom and it’s neat to see the residents light up when they realize they can see their kids or grandkids from all over,” Johnson said.

She said if you have elderly loved ones it is important to stay in touch with them even if you can’t see them in person.

Ways to stay in touch with your elderly loved ones

  • Do virtual visits
  • Send cards or notes
  • Send pictures that can trigger a memory or happy conversation

Johnson said if you’ve noticed an extended period of time has gone by without talking to your loved one you can always reach back out to them.

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Ariel comes to Macon from Greenville, South Carolina where she worked for Fox Carolina as a photojournalist for 4 years. She was part of the team that won a Southeast Emmy for their coverage of Hurricane Dorian. During her time in Greenville she realized her true passion is on-air reporting. She's excited to join the Middle Georgia community to be able to tell the stories of the people who live there. She graduated from the University of South Florida in 2014 with a degree in Mass Communications. She’s originally from Boca Raton, Florida. She has 2 dogs (1 is back home) and a cat. When she's not at work she can be found training as an aerialist or exploring her new home. She also loves a good TV binge, her current favorite shows to watch are The Office, Gilmore Girls, and The West Wing. Feel free to reach out if you have a news tip or just want to say hello.