Finding New Ways to Connect

Elm Crest residents being creative during COVID-19 pandemic

    HARLAN -- They are patiently waiting the day when visitors can return, but for now the use of technology to connect residents at Elm Crest Retirement Community in Harlan with their families is bringing big smiles to residents and their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Because visitors have been restricted until further notice at Elm Crest, creative ideas have popped up to show the outside world that the residents are doing well including the use of social media to show photos and special greetings to family and friends. The use of Facetime and Skype has become a popular way to connect with family and friends.
    Elm Crest Administrator Tim Nauslar said there are  “No visitors at this time for the public, unless a resident is at the end of life and there family is allowed in with mask and hands are sanitized. Some health care workers and all physicians are still coming in as needed.”
    Cindy Hanson’s mother, Arlene, is a resident at Elm Crest. They are among those grateful to be able to visit with each other via a cell phone at the same time they can see each other through Arlene’s room window.
    “We (family) are so thankful we can visit with mom on a cell phone and see her through the window at the same time. We want to thank Elm Crest very much for that opportunity,” said Hanson.
    Major routine changes at Elm Crest during the COVID-19 pandemic have included two different sittings for meals in the health center and maintaining distance between tables for social distancing. Nauslar said each table has two people so they can converse.
    No group or chapel activities are being held but Elm Crest has made accommodations.
    “We are doing 1:1 with our activity department and with our chaplain, Pastor Donna Ewert. Fancy nails are now done one at a time. In Assisted Living we have two times as well one for second floor in their dining room and another time for first floor in our McKee room. No group activities or chapel is the other disruption,” said Nauslar.
    Adjusting to new routines and using different means of technology to check in with family and friends has been a change from seeing daily visitors and volunteers in the building but the residents are taking it all in stride.
    “This generation of our elders have been through a lot and as you can see from our Facebook page they are handling this crisis just fine, for now,” concluded Nauslar.

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