With family and volunteers no longer allowed to visit because of the statewide stay-at-home order, the elderly residents at Quail Garden decided to express their feelings with signs posted outside the assisted-living facility in downtown Livermore.
“Dear Family, Sorry you can’t be here,” says one of the signs. Another reads, “June & Sharon,
We are eating well & playing lots of games. I love you.” Several of the signs express the residents’ hopes that loved ones are staying healthy during the coronavirus epidemic.
“A lot of our residents have family who used to visit every day,” said Quail Garden activity director Natalie Avery. “We also have 35 volunteers who come here regularly, including some who bring their therapy dogs. Our residents miss them. This was a heartfelt way for our residents to reach out and let people know they are okay.”
Quail Garden administrator Alicia Peacock came up with the idea for the signs because many of the residents were worried about not being able to see their friends and family members, Avery said. The residents started making the poster board signs last Thursday, and the signs went up Friday afternoon. The care facility occupies the old St. Paul’s Hospital building built in 1927, in a residential area near downtown Livermore.
Since then, Avery said, dozens of people have stopped to take pictures. “It’s really amazing. There are hundreds of pictures of our signs on Facebook now.”
So many signs have popped up that staff had to dig out old walkers and wheelchairs to hang them on, she said. One Quail Garden resident also suggested hanging a sign on a side gate used by the staff to let them know how much they are appreciated. It reads, “We (heart) our essential care providers.”
Twenty-two elderly residents live at the assisted living facility, many with long-term medical issues, which places them among the most at-risk of serious complications or death if they become infected by the coronavirus. Although family members and dozens of volunteers no longer are allowed into the facility, about 15 cooks, care providers, and other staff still attend to their needs.
Avery said all – residents and staff — are having to learn new routines because of the coronavirus pandemic. For example, residents are learning to wipe down telephones and other shared equipment with an antiseptic after every use. Quail Garden is taking the temperature of all staff members at the beginning of every shift. Avery said many of the residents have also learned to hold video chats with their families.
“A lot of our residents say they have gone through bad times before, but never anything like this,” Avery said. “It’s scary. They’re scared. We turn off the television during lunch just to give everybody a break from the news. But the worst is not being able to visit with their families.”
As one sign addressed to Vicky says, “I love you and miss you. I wish I could see you every day. Please stay healthy and safe. I’ll see you soon.”