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Assisted living facilities work to make holiday season merry as Covid-19 numbers rise

Local News

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) — As coronavirus numbers in Northeast Wisconsin continue to rise, assisted living facilities are figuring out how to make the holiday season merry for residents.

“Folks that are living in a long term care setting have had a very difficult year,” Tim Neuman, Administrator at Brewster Village told Local 5, “with visitation mostly cancelled for the better part of the year.”

Traditional, in-person visits haven’t been allowed since March, but there are still ways for families to get involved.

“One of the things that has been a small win is the ability to do those window visits,” Neuman said.

It’s a small win for people like Richard Nelson, who sees his wife through a window every day.

“I try to get there every day for about an hour,” Nelson said Tuesday after wrapping up his daily visit. “Otherwise I’d be in there nine hours, feeding her and stuff.”

Those long, indoor visits he misses are still looking a ways off.

“Indoor traditional visitation we’re not able to do until the community transmission rate of Covid-19 drops significantly,” Neuman said.

That’s not likely going to happen before the holidays, so Brewster Village is working on ways to make the season special.

“[We are] Hav[ing] family members send in photos, leave messages, and we’re able to play those on a loop on a slideshow,” Neuman said.

Turkey dinners are planned for Thanksgiving, and decorations will be going up in the village.

Employees are also working on continuing a tradition: “I believe 16 team members who have volunteered to be a part of a choir to do the Christmas caroling throughout the halls here, where the community is no longer able to do that,” Neuman said.

Nelson’s holiday plans are simple.

“Just being able to see her, see that she’s okay,” he said. “I’ve been married 69 years to her now, so we always were together.”

That’s a pattern he plans to continue.

“I’ll be here every day,” Nelson said, “As long as it’s not too cold.”

Residents at Brewster Village are also able to visit family virtually with video chats.

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