As Kim West finished painting a window outside Lutheran Community Home, a resident inside blew her kisses and told her she loved her.
Loretta Lucas said as she drew on the windows, residents gave her a thumbs-up or waved.
It’s safe to say the residents appreciated the kind gesture of the Our Hospice of South Central Indiana staff members, who spent time Monday afternoon writing messages and drawing pictures on the windows and sidewalks outside the Seymour senior living facility.
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“This relieves a lot of stress,” said West, a registered nurse case manager for Our Hospice.
“It’s a de-stressor for what we’re going through otherwise,” said Lucas, a registered home health aide.
She’s referring to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in Lutheran Community Home and many other facilities implementing restrictions and guidelines to protect everyone.
“It takes our mind off of everyday life and what’s going on in the world and just to bring a little happiness to them,” Lissa Allman, a social worker for Our Hospice, said of the drawing and painting.
Traci Branstetter, Heather Means and Jeff Curry joined their co-workers in Monday’s effort. Branstetter worked with Marissa Meahl, director of nursing at Lutheran Community Home, to coordinate the project.
By the end of their time there, messages like “Heroes work here,” “Make every moment count,” “Thank you” and “We love you” were written on the sidewalks with chalk for employees to see as they enter the facility. Also, colorful drawings and words were written on the windows of residents and at the entrances.
Allman said because of the pandemic, many of the Our Hospice employees are interacting with families and patients by phone.
“Our nurses are still going into the facilities,” she said. “As far as support services, we’re mainly working with the families instead of the patients right now, not in-person unless there’s a need. We are doing it by phone. We’re very blessed to still be able to do that.”
A few weeks ago, she posted on Facebook asking for cards to send to patients.
“You wouldn’t believe the overwhelming support I got of people bringing cards to my house,” Allman said. “We would sanitize them and let them sit for 24 hours and then take them to the facilities.”
Two other Seymour senior living facilities had their windows decorated.
On April 15, teachers from Margaret R. Brown Elementary School in Seymour and some of their family members painted windows outside Covered Bridge Health Campus.
One of Kyle and Amanda Wilp’s daughters is in the paw pride group at the school led by Lizz Patterson, and they had been going to the nursing home once a month to play games with the residents until the virus pandemic hit.
“I made the comment to Amanda that I had seen online people were playing tic-tac-toe and games similar at nursing homes. Maybe we could take the girls,” Kyle said. “She was the one that contacted Covered Bridge, and she came up with the idea to draw pictures and invite other teachers to join us.”
As teachers, he said it’s important for them to help out any way they can.
“We have been very busy with this new way of teaching and learning, but we are lucky to be able to work and support our community,” Kyle said. “One way we can pass it forward is to put a smile on someone’s face just like our students do for us.”
The Wilps said it also was a good experience for their daughters, Olivia and Aubree.
“Amanda and I want our girls to be caring young ladies who will lend a helping hand when they can,” Kyle said. “We knew most of the residents would enjoy seeing kids trying to brighten their day, even with just a picture on the window.”
It was a little chilly while the group painted, but Kyle said his daughters didn’t mind.
“What I am proud of the most is the girls never complained and wanted to make sure all the windows were covered so all the residents might smile,” he said. “Aubree made the comment when one of the residents opened her window, ‘Dad, did you see her smile?’”
On Tuesday, some windows were painted at Seymour Crossing.
Anna Kuntz’s great-grandmother, Marie Roseberry, is a resident there, and she contacted Activity Director Marty Root to ask about window painting. Root approved.
Kuntz’s mother, April Bannister, handled the painting duties.
“It turned out to be a great event,” Kuntz said. “Grandma enjoyed it. Even Grandma’s roomie wanted in on the fun, so we painted her window, too. Anything to let them know we are still here and love them.”