Saying they were “just trying to do anything” they can to help, two women who also work in senior care flooded Marquis Hope Village in Canby with fresh-cut flowers and other goodies Monday afternoon.
Marquis’ post-acute rehab center has been the site of the state’s largest active outbreak of Covid-19 at a long-term care facility. Virtually all residents — 33 out of 38 — have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, along with 36 staff members. Four residents have died.
The care packages came from Jennifer Fifer-Hines, of Home Instead Senior Care, and Kara Snyder, of Kindred Hospice, with flowers courtesy Ann Munson and 4th Quarter Farm, which provides fresh, hand-picked bouquets for caregivers, those with Alzheimer’s and seniors in assisted living facilities through a buy-one, give-one model.
“We just thought it would be a pretty sweet gesture, considering they are all going through hell right now,” said Fifer-Hines. “We know this is such a heavy time, for staff and residents, so we wanted to try to bring something positive in.”
Snyder, who took the lead on packing the gift baskets for staff, said they contain mostly snacks (some healthy, some “not so much”) and beverages like coffee and tea. Both women have had many clients in Canby and the surrounding areas, and even at Hope Village.
“We have built wonderful relationships with the team and love our patients,” Snyder said. “Grief is what we specialize in. Our bereavement team is stepping up to provide virtual support groups and offering a backline so they have an outlet to speak one-on-one with our chaplains and social workers. We think it’s important that these people know they are loved and supported.”
Their original plan was to provide flowers for residents only, with care packages for the staff, but Munson insisted — saying she would cover the expenses out of her own pocket.
“Her exact words were, ‘I don’t care if it’s 100, make sure we get one for EVERYONE. I don’t want anyone left out!'” Fifer-Hines said with a laugh. (There are, in fact, about 100 employees at the facility.)
The flowers were an important touch, all three women agreed.
“Everyone loves receiving flowers,” said Fifer-Hines. “People are lonely, isolated and looking at the same four walls every day. Flowers bring life, color and let people know they are loved.”
That’s exactly why Munson got into the flower business in the first place. She opened 4th Quarter Farm after losing her husband of 45 years to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
She grows 30 varieties of flowers at her small farm, nestled in the hills of West Linn, and sells them on weekends from a vintage stand next to an Amish egg cart on Southwest Woodbine Road.
She was a little later getting back to us for this story Sunday, on account of being out picking six buckets of roses to add to the bouquets.
“The flowers are fresh, old-fashioned and fragrant, and I hope they will generate memories of gardens past for seniors who are confined inside,” Munson said. “It is meant to provide a little surprise to people who are isolated and lonely. With the pandemic, it has intensified. I hope my flowers provide a little reassurance and comfort.”
Snyder and Fifer-Hines delivered the flowers and goodies on Monday afternoon, following the no-contact protocols currently in place to help prevent further spread of the virus, then sent the Canby Now Podcast approximately 400 photos.
“Sorry… I know it’s overkill,” said Fifer-Hines. “Lots of options.”
“Definitely a wonderful afternoon,” Snyder agreed.