Residents at Hope Village in Canby were not able to visit the vast fields of tulips at Wooden Shoe Farm this year, so Wooden Shoe Farm came to them.
The tulip farm delivered over 200 bouquets of fresh-cut flowers for residents to enjoy, according to Tina Schimpf, marketing coordinator for the village. She said the village staff and resident volunteers assisted with the delivery of these tidings of good cheer and springtime.
“And boy, did they have fun doing it,” Schimpf said with a laugh. “Everyone was so tickled with the special treat. It was so generous of Wooden Shoe to do that.”
The coronavirus pandemic has been particularly difficult for the aging population, who are more vulnerable to the disease it causes and its impacts. Because of this, care homes across the nation have been placed under strict lock-down protocols and isolation procedures.
So, on top of the fear and uncertainty that many are feeling during this difficult time, they are not able to do their normal outings or group activities, or even see their families in person.
Schimpf said it was particularly trying for some residents during the Easter holiday, normally a time for gathering together with family, friends and loved ones. She said the president of Hope Village’s resident association tried to bring a little cheer by delivering pansies and Easter cards to every home.
“He gathered a few of our helper bees to help get them delivered,” she said. “The appreciation from the community is so apparent in this time of being isolated from their friends and families.”
A group of about a dozen local volunteers has also been making sure the residents and staff at Hope Village, and its on-campus assisted living facility, Marquis Hope Village, are well-supplied with the spring’s hottest new fashion statement: homemade cloth face masks.
Hope Village residents themselves have also been getting in on the fun. They made 157 masks this week for Marquis and more than 40 for the employees at Hope Village.
“They have also been providing them to residents,” Schimpf said. “They have worked until they ran out of elastic.”
Things have not been easy for the residents of Marquis Hope Village, says Activities Director Courtney Hohensee.
“With all the regulations in place, our world has changed A lot,” she said. “We are no longer allowed to have groups or visitors and that is very hard for a lot of folks.”
The activity department has kept busy “doing meaningful one on one visits” with residents, which have included art projects, games, walks outside, helping re-arrange rooms, videos, singing songs or just a simple chat.
New activities include staff doing grocery shopping for residents (which is why you might still see the Marquis bus down at the store from time to time), “Get to Know the Staff” Bingo, and even a visit from the Easter Bunny (decked out in all of the appropriate facial garb, of course).
The community has also supported the residents in many ways, Hohensee said, including donations of masks, flowers and lots of cards and letters, which is through an initiative called Operation Send Seniors Love.
“You can drop off cards, letters and pictures, and we will deliver them to our folks after a few days’ waiting period,” Hohensee said. “This has brought so much joy!”
She said Marquis is also requesting that folks who participate include their return addresses so residents can respond.
The other care facilities in Canby have seen similar shows of support. At Rackleff Place Assisted Living, families have continued to visit their loved ones, it’s just looked a little different, with chairs placed outside residents’ windows and new tablets being purchased for “Zoom visits.”
Rackleff Place Director Alex Vice said he and his staff have been focusing on working one on one with residents to help prevent depression and reduce anxiety during this difficult time of isolation.
The threat of infection has even changed — but certainly hasn’t stopped — birthday celebrations.
The home has also received handmade cloth face masks in a wide assortment of bright and cheerful colors, and gift bags for each resident, which included a solar-powered figurine that lights up at night, meant to be a “gentle reminder to us all that even when times are not what we hope they would be, light will always conquer the dark.”
“Families and random people have been donating face masks and toilet paper and flowers and cards and so much love,” Vice said. “We were able to give to the Taft Home because of Canby families. We all adore Canby so much.”
Photos courtesy Hope Village Senior Living Community, Marquis Hope Village Assisted Living and Rackleff Place Assisted Living Community: