ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - This is the first year many residents at assisted living facilities like RoseWood Village Senior Assisted Living & Memory Care will not be able to spend Thanksgiving with their loved ones.
Staff at the facility’s Greenbrier location say they’re getting creative to make sure residents can still “see” their family this holiday, even if it’s not in person.
“They’re missing their families, they’re missing going to the community,” Michelle Maraffi, the activities director at RoseWood Village Greenbrier, said. “I mean, I think it’s just about how everyone feels no matter if they’re in a senior living facility or not.”
Planning holiday activities is Maraffi’s job, but she says this year, she’ll need more help from families to make Thanksgiving feel a bit more normal.
“We have a lot of residents, so we do send out a lot of emails and Facebook announcements and so forth,” Maraffi explained. “Everyone’s really busy, but it’s really important for everyone to continue to stay engaged, friends and families to stay engaged throughout the holiday season.”
She and other staff are asking for their help to make sure residents can still “see,” them this holiday season, even if it’s not face to face like years prior.
“Right now for Thanksgiving, we’re asking families to send in digital photographs of their loved ones from previous holidays and then I’m going to be preparing a slideshow of all these beautiful family photos from all the families,” Maraffi said. “Then presenting it during one on one visits with each resident this week during thanksgiving so that they can relive the moments of previous holidays with families and then see some of their friends here at RoseWood celebrating with their families.”
Residents are permitted to leave the facility with their family for the holiday, but will be required to isolate for at least two weeks upon return. Most visitors will be staying, planning to share their Thanksgiving feast with family from behind a glass window or an iPad screen.
“We are all social creatures, and they can’t see their loved ones face to face but the meaning and joy when I watch them engaging with relatives on Facebook or Facetime, when I see them waving to loved ones, the way their faces light up, that really says it all,” Maraffi said.
This holiday season, RoseWood staff like Maraffi are encouraging anyone, even people who don’t have a loved one in the facility, to send an encouraging note or picture for their residents to enjoy.
“They want to feel like they’re apart of the holiday season with the rest of the Charlottesville community,” Maraffi explained. “So, go ahead and reach out to them, because they’ve been here a long time and they’ve already contributed so much to this area. They don’t want to be forgotten.”