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Technology Brings Residents and Families Together During Pandemic

Even though residents have been restricted from having family and friends visit during the pandemic, technology is making face-to-face time possible, keeping connections safe and meaningful.

Resident Babs Pontius hasn’t seen her daughter, Nancy Pontius, in person since the first week of March. To stay connected, Babs and Nancy are communicating through a combination of FaceTime video chats, window visits and mailed care packages.

“I’ve done our FaceTime calls on my phone so I could take it around with me. I walked through my house and she was able to see my dogs, which she loves. I went outside on my patio and showed her my flowers I had planted and that made her very happy. Next time I might take her out to show her the front of my house that I’ve been working on. Doing this brings back things and makes her look like she’s out and about almost,” said Nancy.

Resident Harold Stevenson has also stayed in touch with his daughter, Janelle Andrews, via FaceTime.

“It’s the next best thing to visiting in person. I think it’s critically important and critically important as well to integrate the family. That component is really part of the whole thing for the residents. It’s a win-win,” said Janelle.

While Harold can’t see well anymore and has a hearing impairment, having the FaceTime call on an iPad allows him to have a larger picture to see better. “He was really receptive to that and it makes him really happy,” said Janelle.

Maria Lane, director of social services, has seen the benefits first-hand of how technology keeps loved ones connected.

“Even when residents get a phone call it’s not the same as interacting and seeing the face on the screen. Doing that and the patio visits is very rewarding for them,” said Maria.

This way of connecting is something Maria hopes to see continue after visitation restrictions have been lifted.

“I would love to be able to keep this for those who live outside of town. It’s opened up a window of hope and ability to see the person you’re talking to. To be able to say, ‘look how great dad looks.’ They’re special moments,” said Maria.

To set up a call with a loved one, contact Maria at 620-343-2613.

PHOTOS: Babs Pontius (right) is shown on a video chat with her daughter Nancy. Venda Doxon (left) enjoys connecting with her daughters on video chats.

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