Mini, heated greenhouses make nursing home window-visits more bearable

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BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WROC) — Window visits have been the popular method lately for loved ones visiting family in senior homes. But here in Rochester – the weather is getting unbearably cold. To cope, one senior home in Brighton, Jewish Senior Life, actually found a way to safely get around this problem. It involves heat.

Some buildings in their complex have vestibules where visitors can warmly visit their loved ones in between glass, while others don’t. That’s where the idea to build miniature greenhouses came into play.

The huts are detached from the inside quarters, but completely enclosed, and equipped with heaters. Meghan Bevins, Director of Recreation Therapy at the home says the idea to build them came out of a desire to make an already-challenging situation less stressful.

“We live in Rochester New York so, we said we’ve got to find a different and a better way,” she said.

Within a week: the greenhouses were set up and ready to go.

Liz Rennert visits her best-friend Charlotte weekly at the home. She says with the weather getting colder, visits from outside were becoming unbearable.

“The last few weeks really, very, very cold,” she said.

But now…

“I was so happy I had the chance to sit there, I cannot tell you how much of a difference its made.”

Bevins says the idea of window visits wasn’t something all the residents warmed up to at the start of the pandemic – nothing can replace an in-person conversation and hug. But with time, and some heaters, more are catching catch on.

“Residents have said ‘that’s much more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be,'” she said.

Staff say the greenhouses are good to last all winter, can seat up to two people and offer 30 minute time slots for each visitor. Because of the high demand for visitations, residents are allowed to utilize the space once a week, but accommodations are made for things like birthdays and anniversaries.

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