One local nursing home and its personnel are working to keep the spirits of residents up while many of their daily activities have been halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Clara-Beth Hyde, owner of Barkley Plantation Assisted Living Facility in Cadiz, said she and her staff are helping the residents in several ways.

The facility has removed buffet dinners and implemented staggered dinners, small group and distanced group activities to comply with social distancing. The center is not allowing visitors until social distancing restrictions are lifted.

“It was a lot of big hits to our residents in a 24-hour time period,” Hyde said about the new restrictions. “I feel so bad for this and I know so many of my residents do not understand what is happening. We are doing everything that we can to help them to understand and to keep their spirits up. This is uncharted territory for us, and we are going to work through it together.”

Barkley Plantation has placed a “Box of Love” on their front porch for the community to drop off cards, gifts, baked goods or other items to help spread joy to the residents.

“Our community has really stepped up,” Hyde said. “We find things in the box every day. It has turned into a game for our residents to see what is in the box.”

Hyde said they are increasing their BINGO games for their residents and hosting a spirit week this week to give residents something to look forward to every day.

Connie Noel, activities director at the center, has taken the care of the residents into her own hands by becoming their fill-in hairstylist.

“A lot of our residents look forward to their weekly hair appointments. It is usually their only time out of the facility,” Hyde said. “They are really missing that time, so Connie has learned how to do their hair for them and is taking on that role for them.”

Hyde also said the family and friends of their residents are being really creative in how they are checking on their loved ones. Some families have bought video chat devices for their residents so they can virtually visit their family.

Trigg County resident Ashley Reynolds and her family bought an Amazon Echo Show to continue communicating with her grandfather, who is a resident at Barkley Plantation.

“My grandfather can’t operate a cell phone very well anymore,” Reynolds said. “This allows us to ‘drop in’ and video chat with him. It helps him feel like we are actually there visiting. He can see us and our kids,and it makes us feel better too since we can see him and check in on him anytime.”

Reynolds and her family recently visited the center to decorate windows for the residents. She said they also make sure to keep him stocked with snacks and drinks that he enjoys so he doesn’t start to feel down.

“It is heartbreaking,” Reynolds said. “During our window visit today he started to tear up because he wants us to be able to come inside so badly. We know this is what’s best for him, but we can’t wait for the day that we can hug him again.”

Many visitors have brought in dry erase boards and markers for residents and use the boards to pass messages to each other through the window.

“This is really difficult and an unprecedented event for us and our community,” Hyde said. “Our priority is the safety of our residents and keeping them happy while they are here. We love what our community is doing to help with that.”

Hyde updates the facility’s Facebook page often with ways to help and updates from the residents.

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