Staying connected one letter at a time

With quarantining at home has become the new normal, families of students have been adjusting to the sudden deprivation of the personal space they once had. Quarantining this way may be tough, but being confined to four walls and a bed with food slid under the narrow crack of the door is what residents of nursing homes across the country have to deal with. Though this may seem tedious, it’s vital to prevent the infection of the most vulnerable.
But even while taking these strong precautions, the residents’ days in isolation are still bright and reassuring. Janet Daboub, my penpal resident at the Solana Deer Park, a division of Atria Senior Living, detailed her experience in quarantine.
“[The employees] set up some chairs in the hall and on our floor they had bingo for us today,” Daboub said. “They sanitized all the bingo cards for us and brought them up and they brought a chair up for all of us and we sat in the hall and they called the numbers. Some of the kids who work in the kitchen played with us. And we had a really good time.”
This enjoyable leisure is made possible by the hard work of the employees, some of whom work in the kitchen and are still in high school.
“They take our temperatures to see that everybody’s ok. They bring our mail up.” Daboub said. “I can’t complain at all. These people are working very, very hard.”
In addition to providing these bare necessities, the employees offer residents choices and variety amidst this monotonous time. “They walk around with an order book and they take our orders. We have a couple of choices for each meal.” Daboub said, comparing the quarantine service to that of a restaurant. “They come with racks and racks of food and a big cart with beverages like homemade lemonade.”
The employees also have to self check.
“When [the employees who work at Atria] come to work, they check their temperatures before they come in to be sure that they’re well, because not everybody has a thermometer at home and if they’re not well and they have a temperature, they have to go home and wait it out.”
Daboub also makes sure she shows her appreciation for them. Earlier in isolation, she decided to put signs outside her door to thank the employees and encouraged everyone on her floor to do the same. This simple act of kindness allowed her to express her gratitude.
“Now we have to appreciate [the employees] ten times more because they’re working so hard to take care of us,” Daboub said.
Fortunately, nobody’s been sick at Solana yet, and the residents do their best to stay afloat in this uncertain time, partaking in leisure activities and staying in touch with loved ones along the way.