Emerging from COVID restrictions
Spring is coming into full bloom and temperatures are rising. Also budding is the hope of new life—with the relaxing of strict COVID protocols—that is lifting the spirits of staff and residents at all Sisters of Providence facilities.
April 19 was a special day at Providence Place, the Sisters of Providence 119-unit independent residence (former Motherhouse), where retired Sisters of Providence live, as well as lay persons. Finally, the dining room was reopened for residents to eat together as in the past. During the lock down, meals were brought to the residents’ rooms. For the past two months, the dining room welcomed residents with 6-foot distances between them, both reducing the number in the room and prompting loud conversations across the distances! This day—with few restrictions —was another small step toward normalcy.
The Providence Place residents are all vaccinated now, staff is tested regularly and all follow COVID protocols. Also, visitors, for the first time in over a year, may visit two at a time in the residents’ rooms, though gathering outside is preferred.
Even Mary’s Meadow, the nursing and rehabilitation facility that follows detailed Federal, State and Department of Health requirements, recently started allowing two guests at a time to visit residents if the guests meet the COVID screening criteria and make appointments. With all residents vaccinated, family and friends are thrilled to be with their loved ones visiting outside or in their rooms.
Genesis Spiritual Life and Conference Center, too, now welcomes guests onsite with up to 50% of capacity use of the dining room, chapel and meeting spaces. Following carefully required protocols, Genesis staff enjoyed having 28 participants in the Easter Triduum Retreat and hosted its Board of Directors’ Annual Meeting overnight retreat recently.
Hillside Residence, 34 units of affordable elder housing, is making similar adjustments with 2 guests allowed to visit residents in their apartments. In addition, instead of receiving their noon meals in their rooms, staff soon will be reopening Hillside’s dining room.
Providence Ministries for the Needy’s Kate’s Kitchen food program is continuing its Meals-to-Go approach for now, for the nearly 200 people who come for lunch each day.
The gradual reopening across these ministries is being greeted with smiles of gratitude and touching moments of reunion as staff, residents, and guests rejoice in the return of the simple gifts of sharing a meal, playing cards or dominos again, or taking a leisurely walk with a friend. Simple gifts we now are treasuring.