Smiling Senior Couple

Wise Owls Initiative

Through Engagement, We Thrive

Wise Owls Initiative wants to spread our message of hope and compassion. We believe that a single action can make a difference in the community, and that collective action can greatly impact the world. Through advocacy and outreach activities, our team works each day to contribute their part to the greater good.

Our mission is to help to reduce the negative effects of isolation and loneliness among our elderly population via engagement through volunteers.

Take a look through our site, and see how you can help to make a difference right alongside of us.

 
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“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see”

Mark Twain

 

How COVID 19 Has Negatively Affected Those in Long Term Care

Testimony From a Loving Family

Serving Food

About a year and a half ago, we moved our parents into an assisted living facility due to my mom’s physical and mental health.  Although dad did not require nursing care, he made the decision to join her so they would remain together. They had been married for 74 years and were looking forward to celebrating their Anniversary together.  


During the initial 7 months, we had the joy spending time in the assisted living with my parents and got to know a lot of the other residents.   We were able to participate in their activities such an art and crafts, music time, happy hour, etc.   Then, on March 14th, following the State mandated guidelines, their facility went on lock down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  During the next several months only the working staff were allowed into the facility.  Although these restrictions were implemented for the safety of the residents, no one saw it coming, and it created a lot of hardships for the residents and their families.  A lot of the residents are not able to fully comprehend why their family members were not visiting them or why they were no longer having entertainment and activities inside the facility.  


For the next few months the only contact with family members were through a glass window and talking over the phone. For the residents that didn’t have family members they experienced total isolation from the outside world.  This isolation from the outside world brought depression and loneliness to these residents. I have witnessed first hand the mental and physical deterioration of these residents because of this isolation.   


During the last 4 months, the State mandated guidelines have adjusted to allow two family members apply to become “essential caretakers” for their family member living inside the facility.  This allows these essential caretakers to come into the facility at any time to be with their family member. This has made a big difference in the mental health of these residents.  Again, I experienced this first hand with my mother.  She was in hospice care at the facility and was not expected to live more than a few days.  Because of this, we were allowed to visit her and stay with her in her room.  When we started visiting her there was a marked improvement in her health.  In fact, she was able to survive an additional 5 months. We got to celebrate her birthday together eating one of her favorite meals, enchiladas.


We have all been inconvenienced with COVID-19.  However, the residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities have lost so much.  Their activities from the outside world stopped. Their family visitations stopped or were greatly curtailed.  Their weekly trips in a bus to visit stores, restaurants, ice cream parlors, and take scenic drives stopped.  Most of these residents have some form of dementia.  They are confused, lonely, isolated, and don’t fully understand what is going on and it is taking a toll on their health and well-being.


The few residents with local family members that are actively visiting them are doing better.  Unfortunately, the majority of the residents do not have this luxury. They need interaction from the outside community.  They need to know that someone cares about them.  Someone that can communicate with them on a regular basis whether it be cards of encouragement, a video chat, or visitation outside with masks.  I know that this would go a long way in improving their lives and give them a sense of worth