Nursing homes celebrating Mother’s day with social distance parties and virtual messages

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — For the hundreds of mothers that live at St. John’s Nursing Home, being away from their families around holidays can be emotional, but leaders are working to make sure they can still have a great Mother’s Day and keep in touch with loved ones — while staying safe.

“It is incredibly tough. Our residents miss their families so much, we miss their families,” Nate Sweeney, vice president of skilled services at St. John’s said. “This is an incredibly different Mother’s Day than we’ve ever had before.”

Sweeney usually helps residents celebrate Mother’s Day with families at Rochester’s Lilac Festival each year. But with no visitors allowed inside, no festival and residents stuck to their rooms, some celebrations had to change.

“Obviously this there are a lot of traditions that we have been able to help continue. So we’ve brought flowers to all of the mothers. At St. John’s, we normally have a tea party, we’ve turned that into a roaming tea cart,” Sweeney said.

The therapeutic recreation of delivering presents to mom’s is what Sweeney called a party on the go.

Phones calls and drop off presents were still allowed. Families were also encouraged to send in a virtual videos, allowing their loved ones to see a face.

“We had over 115 videos that family members have made for their loved ones that they sent it. We’ve complied it and then we’ve got that non-clinical staff going around and sharing those videos on their iPads,” Sweeney said.

While not seeing loved ones was the hardest part about this mother’s day, Sweeney said the staff and community inside the home worked hard to keep things normal while dealing with the restrictions.

“We’re living in a new normal right now and it’s a scary new normal, so what we try to do is just make sure that people feel supported,” said Sweeney. “The St. John’s family is never going to replace someones loved one but we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that people are still surrounded with love.”

Leaders said keeping some celebrations and and adapting others, they we’re able to give the mother’s here some what of a normal mother’s day.

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