By Richard Rourk
The staff at Christian Care Center of Unicoi County got creative for a way to reconnect its residents with loved ones who have been unable to visit due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The residents of Christian Care Center of Unicoi County lined up with masks on – at a safe six feet apart – along the front sidewalk on June 19 to welcome some familiar and some unfamiliar faces. At 2 p.m., led by the Erwin Police Department, a parade of more than 75 cars made its way around the loop in front of the center with horns, signs and balloons on full display.
According to Christian Care Center of Unicoi County Patient Liaison Heather Mitchell, the idea came from watching other facilities across the United States put on similar parades for their residents.
“We really have been thinking about ways we can connect our residents back with family and friends in the community and when I saw other facilities doing parades, I knew we had to do one,” Mitchell said. “We have a wonderfully sunny day to have our residents come out safely and follow COVID-19 guidelines to see their families for the first time without being on some sort of screen. Of course, the safety of the patients is paramount, so we are all wearing masks and keeping six feet apart, but we are able to see loved ones and speak to them from a distance as they pass by.”
Chants of “we love you” and “we miss you” filled the air, along with honks from horns as the cars passed by the residents.
Not only were residents greeted with friends, family and unique cars, they were also greeted by pets as many pet owners brought their dogs to say ‘hi’ through the car windows. Silas, a hearing impaired dog, stared and wagged his tail to the delight of the residents who were waving as all of the vehicles passed by.
According to Mitchell, Christian Care Center of Unicoi County will continue to find ways that its residents can reconnect with the outside world in a safe manner.
“We were very pleased with the turnout and the weather could not have been better,” Mitchell said. “We will continue to seek out safe and creative activities for our residents.”
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