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Ways to connect with seniors during holidays and beyond

With the holidays here and ongoing visitation restrictions in place due to the coronavirus, the feeling of isolation can be overwhelming.
Seniors in Bangor share season's greetings virtually.
Seniors in Bangor share season's greetings virtually.(wabi)
Published: Dec. 16, 2020 at 9:33 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - This year has been difficult for so many, especially seniors.

With the holidays here and ongoing visitation restrictions in place due to the coronavirus, the feeling of isolation can be overwhelming.

Like at many senior care facilities, staff members at Solstice Senior Living in Bangor are working overtime to keep spirits up for residents.

“I don’t have residents. They’re all my grandparents, basically,” says their Executive Director, Matthew Gagnon.

He says it weighs on staff, too, so the more physically-distanced fun events they can come up, the better.

As executive director he has seen first hand how difficult this year has been for those living there.

”I just want to be able to hug them every day and tell them it’s going to be okay, and you know, unfortunately, you’re not really supposed to. I think that’s the most difficult part for them.”

Gagnon says it’s also been extremely difficult to see their normally cheerful group dealing with isolation which has caused some to move on to assisted living facilities from their independent living facilty.

”Just due to the fact that they weren’t able to cope with the loneliness and isolation.”

He says they’re also helping their residents connect with their loved ones.

This can be done through virtual chats, sending handmade cards, or even personalized videos.

”Any operator in this industry would love to share that of their loved one with that resident. Any way that you can actually communicate with any family member that’s in a senior living, nursing home, whatever the case may be, is honestly going to make a huge difference, and it’s going to cut down on that isolated feeling,” says Gagnon.

Gagnon says videos are great because residents can save them to watch whenever they may be feeling lonely.

“Especially with everything going on in today’s world, it’s a difficult thing even for younger kids and seniors alike. Just reach out talk to them, just make sure they’re okay and make sure they know that you love and you support them and you’re there even though it’s virtually,” says Gagnon.

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