RANDOLPH — As the world reels in chaos from the COVID-19 epidemic, residents at the Randolph Manor are kept safe and busy. With the exception of no outside visitors allowed, it’s pretty much business as usual and their day-to-day activities haven’t changed much.
Steve Mauro who owns and operates the 50-bed facility with his brother, David, said they haven’t had any issues with the coronavirus and the residents are doing great. The only thing that’s changed in their daily routine is no visitors are allowed.
“Visitors can stand outside the door, down at the bottom of the steps and talk to their loved ones, or they can talk to them through the door or through a bedroom window. They just have to keep that 6-foot space,” he said.
Resident Doris Stone said being isolated is much worse than what she and many of the other residents went through during World War II, because nobody can come in and they can’t leave. In spite of that, she said they all are doing fine.
“It wasn’t so bad. We didn’t have to be so isolated as we are now,” she said, referring to wartime. “There weren’t many cars on the road because tires were scarce and gas was rationed. Sugar, coffee and things like that were also rationed, but we got along. We had trouble getting clothes and shoes — things like that. My wedding dress was just a dress because we couldn’t get anything like that.”
Another resident, Phyllis Frink, who was in total agreement with Stone, said the isolation is worse. She said gas was rationed so they didn’t travel much, but at least they could get together with people.
“There’s hardly any comparison between then and now because, during WWII, we weren’t out of business, the factories were still running and we continued to go to school,” she said.
Activities Director Rhonda Schultz keeps the residents occupied with daily activities to keep their bodies moving and their minds sharp. Now more than ever, she’s trying to keep them busy and their minds off coronavirus.
The activities schedule has become more of a challenge to Schultz these days, since nobody is currently allowed to visit the home. It’s all on her to fill in the gaps and keep the program going.
For now, it’s basic activities including yoga, movies, crafts, spa time with manicures and massages and everybody’s favorite game, Bingo. She plans to add some new activities including an UNO card game tournament and a puzzle contest to see who can put a 24-piece puzzle together the fastest.
Schultz said guest speakers ordinarily come in Wednesdays for the Coffee & Conversation activity and talk about topics of interest with the residents. In the past, they have been able to enjoy a concert every Saturday, but that’s no longer on the schedule. She said the Sunny Side Up band was scheduled to come last week and the residents were looking forward to it.
“They were sad and disappointed but, for the most part, they all understand what’s going on and we’re just trying to keep them safe,” she said.
Local resident Connie Dalbo usually comes on Thursdays to lead the residents in an energizing session of yoga. Now Schultz is leading the activity.
Bible study is another regular weekly activity. Judy Stevens usually comes in Tuesday mornings and does that, but now Schultz is filling in. She said they are moving forward and, right now, they are focusing on Easter, the cross and Lent season.
THROUGH THE Randolph Manor Activities on Facebook, Schultz keeps family and friends up-to-date on what their loved ones at the facility are doing. She tries to post something almost every day because the residents’ families and members of the Randolph community love seeing their smiling faces. They enjoy reading the posts and seeing pictures of what the residents are up to.
On March 18 Schultz posted, “During the COVID-19 mandatory lockdown, we want you to know our residents are doing well. I keep them very busy with activities. Believe me, they are not bored. Our residents would like to share their hearts with you.”
This recent activity she was referring to was particularly relevant and involved the residents putting their own personal message on a poster to let their friends, family and the general public know they are alright and doing well. Then she posted their messages on Facebook.
The many messages generated by the residents let everybody know they are doing fine. One message said, “I love my family. I’m doing well.” Another said, “I’m trusting God.” A wise woman said, “I’m thankful to be here where I’m being taken care of. This, too, will pass.” In response, their friends and families posted heartfelt messages that made the residents feel loved and not forgotten.
The next day, Schultz thanked their Facebook friends for all the comments and likes received in response to their messages. As she read those comments to each resident, individually, the words made them all smile and laugh. She said it was nice to hear them laugh and it was great.
“You wouldn’t believe how many people liked that post,” she said. “Normally if I get around 200 likes on my Randolph Manor Activities Facebook page, that’s good, but this post received 4,700 likes, so a lot of people must have shared it.”
Schultz said she is thinking about making a little video of all the residents together and having them personally say something, then post it on Facebook.
“Like everybody else in the world, we are hoping this will come to a close soon but, in the meantime, we’re keeping the faith and keeping the residents healthy, happy and busy,” she said.
For updates on what’s happening at the Randolph Manor, check Randolph Manor Activities on Facebook.
(Contact press reporter Deb Everts at firstname.lastname@example.org)