During COVID-19 crisis, residents stay connected with loved ones through Send-a-Note

During COVID-19 crisis, residents stay connected with loved ones through Send-a-Note

Connecting with residents

Residents are feeling love from family, friends and community members even though they can’t visit them in person.

It’s coming in the form of notes and photos through the Good Samaritan’s online Send-a-Note service.

The service is free and makes it possible for people to send a message and photos to residents through a simple form on the Society’s website.

With visitor restrictions in place at all Good Samaritan locations across the country, the Send-a-Note service is providing a needed means of communication.

“When our residents get a message, they’re excited,” says Jennifer Batesel, marketing coordinator at Good Samaritan – Mountain Home in Arkansas. “Activity staff are delivering the notes right away and they get so excited to give a message. Residents really love the pictures.”

The number of notes coming in to Good Samaritan – Northwood Retirement Community in Jasper, Indiana, has increased dramatically because of the visitor restrictions.

What the notes mean to residents

“We’ve gotten over 150. The response from residents is a lot of laughs and happy tears,” says Jennifer Wilson, office manager at Northwood. “I’ve basically worked Monday and Tuesday on nothing but responding to the messages.”

A majority of the notes have photos with them – many showing children, pets and outdoor scenery. Families of farmers are sending in updates about calving season.

“For the resident to see that it brightens them up so much,” says Wilson. “It warms your heart.”

Long-time married couples who are used to seeing each other frequently are thankful for Send-a-Note and other forms of technology that allow them to continue to stay connected.

“One man has been married 60-some years and it’s just awful for him to be apart from his wife,” says Wilson.

Notes from family

 A note received from the family of a Good Samaritan resident.A note received from the family of a Good Samaritan resident.
Notes received from the families of Good Samaritan residents.

“In Mountain Home, one particular resident usually has family visit seven days a week. With the visitor restrictions, it’s disrupted their routine,” says Chad Huebner, administrator at Mountain Home. “Their lives have been turned upside down.”

To help make sure families and residents stay in communication, Huebner bought track phones for all areas of the campus so residents can do FaceTime with their families.

“It has immediately had such a positive impact for the residents to see their families,” he says. “One woman had a birthday and got to celebrate with her family and it touched her so much.”

In addition to Send-a Note and FaceTime, Mountain Home staff members are also encouraging families to use Skype and iN2L (It’s Never Too Late) technology.

The use of technology – video visits, photos, texts and emails – have brought connection. We’re socially distanced, but not emotionally distanced.

– Jennifer Batesel

Other ways to reach residents

Snail mail is also an important way to keep in contact. Locations have seen several care packages and cards coming in for residents.

“We have to think outside the box and do things differently if families don’t have email capability,” says Wilson.

Whatever the form of communication, residents are thankful for the ways people are reaching out to them.

With Send-a-Note, an individual can send a message to any resident to brighten his or her day. They don’t have to know the person.

“Right now, it’s keeping residents happy,” says Wilson. “It’s reeling us all in that it’s time to slow down and realize what’s important.”

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