For just a glimpse… Parade allows family to see Life Care Center residents

Published 2:47 pm Tuesday, May 12, 2020

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While the recent Stay-at-Home directive allowed most families to be somewhat confined together, there were some family members that have been shut off completely from contact from their loved ones.
For over two months, residents at the Life Care Center of Elizabethton have not had any contact with their family as the long-term care facility has done its best to protect those who call the center home.
Knowing that it was time to somehow allow their residents to at least get a glimpse of their family, the center organized a drive-by parade for their residents who were able to see their family if but for just a brief, passing moment.
The center invited families to participate in a parade on Saturday at the facility and there was a large turnout as vehicles were decorated, horns honked, and family handed out cards and flowers for their family member that is living at the facility.
It was only fitting as well that the event took place the day before Mother’s Day.
“We had seen another facility that had done something on Facebook like this, so we decided to do it as well,” said Life Care Center of Elizabethton administrator Angie Bradnan. “It looked like a lot of fun.
“Everybody was in tears. There were more that came out than I had expected and the cars extended down past Clayton Homes. It was great to see how excited they were as they started to line up 30 minutes before we even started.”
Although the weather wasn’t exactly perfect with cold, blustery winds blowing, one couldn’t tell by the excitement of the residents as they were bundled up in blankets by the staff and held signs in their hands for those passing by.
“It was wonderful seeing all the smile and the tears,” Bradnan said. “There were family members hanging out the window to see their family members here.
“We are so grateful to be able to that for them.”
Some vehicles would stop in front of residents and hand staff cards and flowers to hand to their family members. And whether the vehicle held family members or not, each time a vehicle passed feeble hands would raise and offer a wave to those who were passing by.
In turn, each vehicle occupant would return the gesture as often tears could be seen being wiped away after passing a resident.
And the tears weren’t just from the family and residents as the entire staff was emotional in seeing the interactions between residents and members of the parade.
“Things like this remind us of why we do what we do,” Bradnan stated. “These are difficult times, but we are grateful to be able to take care of our residents. That’s what we are here for.”
And while Bradnan has no idea of how long it could be before things got back to normal visitation, she did say that plans are already in the works for another parade to be done in June.
About half the facilities residents were able to participate in Saturday’s event. While residents had on facemasks, it wasn’t difficult to see the smiles and the joy of being able to see their family once again after a long respite.

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