Nursing home resident describes life during COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: Jul. 1, 2020 at 7:19 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Long-term care facilities have been hot spots for the coronavirus in Alabama. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Alabama Department of Public Health reported 441 deaths in our state attributable to COVID-19 in residents of long-term care; that’s about 46% of the state’s total deaths.

Those coronavirus numbers are a driving factor in restricting visitation to long-term care facilities. That means for people that live in nursing homes, there is a physical barrier between them and the outside world.

Herbert Bolt is a resident at Capitol Hill Healthcare.

“I just watch TV, sleep and eat,” Bolt said.

He’s an outgoing guy that’s stuck inside due to COVID-19.

“I’m used to going out to my brother’s every weekend. So it’s been a little rough. He’s a lot younger than me, he’s my baby brother. We’re like two peas in a pod,” said Bolt.

While this has been a rough transition, the staff are doing their best to keep everyone engaged.

“We do a lot of things like doorway bingo. We also engage in popcorn hallway pass where we pass out bags of popcorn. We may dance in the hallways with them for music therapy,” said Capitol Hill Healthcare Director of Recreation, Amaryllis Pearson. “We show as much love and positivity as we can. There’s nothing like kindness and positivity. We want them to feel connected with us because we are their family as well.”

For now residents get by on the love they receive from staff as well as letters and phone calls from friends and family.

“We understand. We know that families miss their loved ones. We have bought several mobile devices so that they can video chat with their loved ones,” Pearson said.

“I call my brother and talk to him. He’s dong fine. He calls me. He does come every Sunday and drop my drinks and snacks off to me. We wave at one another through the window,” Bolt said.

If you want to brighten a resident’s day, Capitol Hill Healthcare has a pen pal program. If you want to be involved in that program you can send a letter addressed to the activities director to:

Capitol Hill Healthcare

520 S Hull St

Montgomery, AL 36104

Pearson says the residents would be thrilled to receive more letters from the community.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.