coronavirus

Nursing Home Staff, Residents Adjusting To New Way of Life

Some residents of Queen of Peace have had to resort to things like playing BINGO solo while practicing social distancing at the residence home. (Photo: Queen of Peace residence home)

A normal day at Queen of Peace residence home is filled with people and human interactions. Meals, Mass and recreation are what bring nearly 80 senior citizens, staff and Little Sisters of the Poor together at the Queens Village assisted living facility.

Pepper in some visits from neighbors, family members and friends, and residents have themselves a busy, but engaging day. At a time when separation is both urged and needed, members of this Queens community are taking a new approach to their daily routine. It’s one that relies on faith, kindness, and concern for those who live beyond the walls of the home.

In the past weeks, everything from bingo to devotions have become solo or socially distanced activities. “These are all communal situations, so the need for social distancing has really impacted the way our days unfold,” Sister Constance Veit, L.S.P., who oversees U.S. vocations for the religious order, told The Tablet.

“The residents in our home generally spend a lot of time together, so now they find themselves spending more time alone.” Daily Mass, group meals and watching sports are among the missed activities.

“They find it strange to sit at a table all alone to eat. Most them are very social beings,” Sr. Veit added.

Instead, residents participate from their doorways in modified recreational activities and daily Mass is streamed to each resident’s room television. With baseball’s opening day postponed as well, senior citizens are finding different ways to stay engaged throughout the day.

“Some residents have been watching more television, but also following the news a lot more closely than usual,” she added.

“They are more concerned about all the people they are seeing in the news who are directly affected by the virus, from the sick to healthcare workers and those whose livelihood is affected … They are quite aware of what is going on around them.”

While some New Yorkers have been able to work from home during the coronaviru crisis, at Queen of Peace, staff members and sisters are now equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) and individually screened any time they enter the residence.

The center is also taking donations, as they are still in need of products like hand sanitizer, wipes, paper towels, and additional PPE.

As an added precaution, visits to residents have been suspended in efforts to mitigate risks of contracting the virus. Those who are being impacted most by these
changes understand.

“They know this is an exceptional time, and they are willing to do whatever is required to keep themselves and others safe and healthy,” said Sr. Veit. One resident, who is over 100 years old, recently told Sr. Veit that amid the current pandemic, all of her prayers are for the people. “All I do is pray, pray, pray,” she said.

Aside from offering prayers for Queen of Peace, you can also send your own prayer intentions, and residents can join you in petition. You can even “adopt” a resident that you can write to and call.

Sr. Veit urges that, at this time, we reach out especially to any seniors in our neighborhood, and family, especially those that are living alone.

“Seniors living by themselves are at the greatest risk of being neglected or forgotten at a time like this,” she explained. “Give them a phone call every day, or stop by to visit them through the window or the front stoop, to make sure they have the food and medications they need.”

To read the latest updates regarding coronavirus concerns in the Brooklyn Diocese, go to https://thetablet.org/coronavirus.

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