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Overcoming isolation at long-term care facilities: How one family is still finding ways to connect

Posted at 6:52 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 19:52:28-05

OMAHA, Neb. — It has been tough for residents at long-term care facilities to connect with family members during the pandemic. Feelings of isolation have skyrocketed for the elderly. But one local family isn't letting the pandemic ruin Christmas or those connections.

Carol Casey Meyer is very close with her mom, 88-year-old Ginny Casey. After her mother suffered a stroke a year and a half ago, Casey has been residing at Brookestone Village long-term care facility.

"Before the pandemic, mom was used to having somebody here probably about every day," Casey Meyer said.

It broke Casey Meyer's heart when the pandemic hit and the family had to resort to window visits or virtual meetings. This year the mother of seven is even opening Christmas presents over the phone.

However, the family is thankful that the facility is prioritizing connecting residents with family members, especially when staff members work extra hours just so families can have those opportunities.

"My favorite thing to do is the rare opportunity that we can have face to face visits. If I'm told that I can do that, usually within the day we schedule as many as possible and I stay as late as I can, work into the weekend if we can still do them. That is the highlight," Brookestone Village life enrichment coordinator Sarah Bird said.

Those feelings of isolation are prominent for Casey and many other long-term care residents. But connecting virtually is one way to help ease those feelings of loneliness.