In these trying times, we hope to give you a glimpse of some ordinary people doing extraordinary things. There are many. Here is just one story.
As with most of our ‘Kindness’ stories, this one started with a Facebook post:
“I just heard a fantastic idea! For those home with children when schools are closed…how about having your kids write notes, color pictures, and mail them to local nursing homes? The elderly in these homes aren’t allowed visitors right now.”
But this post struck a chord with Donna Allen Albright, who is the Wellness Office Coordinator at Bayleigh Chase with an office in the assisted living section. For the past few weeks, she’s watched the 60 residents in her building, along with the nurses, physical therapists, and staff learn how to deal with the new realities of masks, disinfectants, and temperature checks “We’re doing our best,” she said repeatedly.
With residents forced to stay in their rooms, employees have had to come up with creative ways to keep them occupied. “Every staff member is stepping up and doing things which may not be in their job description, but we do what needs to be done,” says Albright. There’s bingo and a planned 1950s night, anything to add a little fun to a rapidly changing world. “Some of the residents don’t understand what’s happening on the outside. They just know that their kids can’t come to visit. These are the folks who don’t have cell phones to FaceTime with their family.”
When the directive was issued to bar guests from senior home facilities, Albright had to get in touch to let families know. “The first family I called was my brother and sister to tell them they can’t come and visit. My dad lives here.” She spoke about last week’s visit from a man. It was his mom’s birthday, and he sang to her through the window.
So, when Albright saw the post about sending cards, she knew it was something that would make a difference in the lives of the elderly. She shared the post with her friends on Facebook, and her friends shared it with their friends, and so on. “Then I started calling people who were at home with children. I said, ‘have them draw some pictures and write some letters.’ What a great project for the kids stuck at home.”
They got their first card yesterday. It was addressed to ‘Any Resident at Bayleigh Chase.’ “We’re starting to see them come in,” says Albright. “We’ll distribute them as we get them; first to those who aren’t getting any mail from the outside. We’ll start hanging some of the pictures on the walls. Again, just a generic card, letter, or drawing will do. Send it to ‘Any Resident,’ or address it to me, and we’ll make sure they get them.”
Bayleigh Chase is a retirement community in Easton, located at 545 Cynwood Dr. Easton, MD 21601. If you know someone who is making a difference, let us know.
Val Cavalheri is a recent transplant to the Eastern Shore, having lived in Northern Virginia for the past 20 years. She’s been a writer, editor and professional photographer for various publications, including the Washington Post.