Nursing homes find ways to boost morale, engage residents without visitors

Drive-by parades, spa days, animal visitors keep residents entertained

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, friends and family aren’t able to visit loved ones in nursing homes or rehab facilities, but staff at Heritage Hall facilities are still finding ways to lighten the mood and provide entertainment.

If pictures could talk, you’d hear chirps, barks and laughter to follow when looking through pictures taken of residents at Heritage Hall’s Lexington location.

“We had a whole afternoon with cuddles,” said Jennifer Eddy, spokesperson for American HealthCare. “With baby puppies and chicks and that was incredibly enjoyable for each of our residents.”

An employee scored big by bringing in these precious pets, something that’s not restricted from residents during this time.

“I mean everyone likes social interaction right?” Eddy said. “I think the whole world in this particular moment is focused on how important that is for health and well-being and so it’s no different for our residents who live inside these facilities; they really enjoy their group activities and it’s hard that we can’t be doing those right now.”

Smiles are made possible with a little extra creativity and care. Residents in Blacksburg were all smiles after receiving makeovers.

“So in our Blacksburg facility, we did a mini spa day and we brought in manicurists and we did hair and makeup for residents,” Eddy said.

The Lexington facility is preparing for a drive-by parade this Friday at 2 p.m. Police, firemen, businesses, community members and family are all invited to participate with signs or a decorated vehicle.

"We are going to celebrate with the community all of the relationships that make Lexington such a special place to be,” Eddy said.

They’re proving that quality of life can persevere under any circumstance.

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