Nursing home residents making best of lockdown

By Anna Jauhola
A good sense of humor coupled with creative entertainment has kept nursing home residents in Hallock in high spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They really need the face-to-face time, though,” said Jimann Cozzen, activities director at Kittson Healthcare Nursing Home, lower level. “We’ve been using Facetime, Skype, and they find this fascinating.”
The nursing home facility went into lockdown, allowing no visitors inside the facility, on Tuesday, March 17.
Some family members have stopped by residents’ windows to visit face to face while talking over the phone. One family brought posters and sang happy birthday on a resident’s special day. Otherwise, residents are receiving numerous letters, cards, emails and pictures to help brighten the situation, Cozzen said. Students from Lancaster School have been sending homemade cards to residents.
To bring extra smiles to residents, Activities Aide Krista Olson straps on her rollerblades to deliver these special items every afternoon at 3 p.m.
Now, as the pandemic creeps closer to Kittson County, the nursing home residents no longer congregate for meals. Despite that, the staff is doing their best to make sure they have mood-boosting entertainment.
On April 1, after playing hallway bingo, the residents prepared for their usual sing-a-long with music playing in the hallways.
“They were all by their doors and we started playing Christmas carols,” Cozzen said. “The music started and they didn’t know what was going on. Then we hollered ‘April Fools!’ and they all found it pretty funny.”
To keep with the joke, everyone joined in and sang with the carols. Following the activity, one resident put on his own Bing Crosby holiday music.
The residents understand the need to remain separated during the pandemic.
“We are so proud of the residents and how well they’re doing,” Cozzen said.
The staff continues to meet every morning to assess what needs to be done for the residents’ well-being. Olson brought in her puppy one day last week and visited each room.
“You could tell who likes dogs and who doesn’t,” she said with a laugh. “We’d ask if it was OK to come in and their faces would just light up.”
Cozzen said it’s been a little more difficult to keep residents distanced on the upper-level nursing home, where residents require special care. However, the staff has been going the extra mile by setting residents’ hair and painting nails
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They have also provided extra sensory activities and spending extra time visiting.
Cozzen said the assisted living facility residents are also restricted to their own apartments.
Anyone who wishes to send cards or letters to help encourage and cheer up the nursing home residents in Hallock can write to 1010 S. Birch Ave., ℅ Activities, Hallock, MN 56728.
“All in all, I think our residents are doing very well,” Cozzen said.

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