How Masonic Village at Burlington is Helping Residents Combat Loneliness During COVID-19

During this time of social distancing with COVID-19, Masonic Village at Burlington residents in nursing care and assisted living areas may feel lonely or isolated from largely staying in their rooms and not being able to visit with their loved ones.

Recreation therapists, social workers and other staff across the village are working hard to keep residents occupied, whether it’s by connecting them to family members via video chat, reading their mail to them or just stopping by to see how they’re doing. Staff help to facilitate video chats with residents and their families to help decrease their feelings of loneliness.

“We have several residents who own electronic devices through which their family can call them,” said Tammy George, director of activities.

“We are able to broadcast to our residents in their rooms from our chapel, so since quarantine began, we’ve been providing different activities that are being shown through their televisions each day,” Tammy said. These activities include morning exercises, music therapy, trivia, virtual bingo, sing-a-longs and more. On “Fun Friday,” team members hold lip sync contests (residents vote on the winners), perform skits and play Family Feud.

“Residents really enjoy the Friday activities,” Tammy said. “We’re kind of silly, which is okay. It is fun for the residents to see people they know performing. As we start to reopen, we’ll continue to add to our regular programming.”

Staff also provide one-on-one attention to residents. On Tuesdays, Gloria Turk, music therapist, strolls from room to room with her electric piano. On Thursdays, staff distribute alcoholic beverages and snacks during “Happy Hour.” They also provide an ice cream cart for residents twice a month.

Families of residents have dropped off care packages, restaurant food, mail and cards, which team members help open and read to the residents.

“Some residents get daily newspaper subscriptions,” Tammy said. “We have a lot of supplies we give them to do in their rooms, like jigsaw puzzles. We also have DVD players and a DVD library.”

The team works together to sit down and chat with residents who may be lonely, are having a bad day or just need someone to talk to. “It’s key to have consistency with the same caregivers,” she said. “We’ve become their family.”