The Bright Side Family's group of programs provides housing and/or support services for approximately 175 older adults. We also touch the lives of many more older adults and families by providing information, referrals, health screening and advocacy services. The worldwide pandemic is hitting everyone in different, difficult ways. As a health care and housing provider, our challenges include keeping our residents and clients safe and healthy, maintaining adequate supplies of food, personal protective equipment, cleaning and disinfectant products, and making sure our staff members are healthy and feel supported while ensuring sufficient staffing levels at all times.
Early on in this pandemic, before we were directed to do so, our Program Administrators made the decision to restrict families, friends, volunteers and all non-essential employees from visiting. This was a difficult but wise decision. It resulted, however, in creating a new risk - would our residents and clients feel socially isolated? Would families understand and cope with not being able to visit?
Through this ordeal, my appreciation for our small "family" has grown and I am reminded daily of what is unique about us. Our greatest resource is our staff - a group of approximately 75 dedicated, loving and enthusiastic men and women who care deeply about the older adults we serve. As a family member once observed, there is a genuine connection between our staff and residents/clients. Lively conversations, jovial exchanges continue to take place despite the everyday challenges, fatigue from working extra hours and fears of COVID-19. Our staff is helping residents connect with their loved ones through FaceTime, Facebook, phone calls and letter writing. They are encouraging community groups and volunteers to send notes so that our residents/clients know they're being thought of. We'll get through this together!
Please remember, however, the many older adults living in the community who may not have loved ones nearby or friends who are able to provide support. If you have a neighbor or friend who lives alone, or is caring for an aged family member, please stay in touch by phone and offer to help with grocery shopping or picking up a prescription. This is a difficult time for everyone, but especially for older adults who may not have the same opportunities for socialization or other needed supports that they usually have.