LIMA — Stella Goodwin is settling into a new normal. At 87, Goodwin doesn’t worry much about the novel coronavirus pandemic, even though she can no longer host family in her home at Burton’s Ridge as the assisted living facility enforces new visitor restrictions to keep it safe from COVID-19.
“I figure, it is what it is,” Goodwin said. “Why be worried and afraid. Life’s too short. That’s my philosophy.”
The good news is she is hearing more often from her grandchildren and great grandchildren – which is a welcome change.
Goodwin’s phone rings constantly as far-away nieces and nephews watch her Facebook video messages, one example of how Burton’s Ridge staff are helping their residents cope with the new isolation.
And then there are the phone calls with grandchildren standing outside her window, an increasingly common way families are staying in contact with older parents and grandparents who are most vulnerable to developing complications from COVID-19.
“We used to visit her all the time,” said Wendy Bennett, Goodwin’s granddaughter. “With this, it’s hard to go see her. I decided when I dropped some stuff off to her to go look through the window and talk to her that way.”
Bennett, 42, brought her daughter, Chloie, 14, along for one such visit on a recent afternoon. The two delivered Goodwin’s favorite bird seed, stopping by her window to keep Goodwin company.
While the changes are difficult, Bennett feels safer knowing her grandmother is not being exposed to visitors who may be carrying the coronavirus without knowing it.
“They’re doing what they can there at the nursing home to make sure that they’re safe,” she said. “That’s the most important thing.”
Ohio has the sixth largest population of older adults in the U.S. Those seniors are now increasingly isolated as they are asked to shelter in place, avoiding large crowds at grocery stores or church gatherings.
Kathy Gasser has had a hard time adjusting to that new reality.
Gasser, 70, is a regular volunteer and board member for the Delphos Senior Citizens’ Center, which has canceled its activities amid warnings that the coronavirus can be deadly for older adults. She now spends her time at home, periodically checking in on neighbors and friends who are also at risk.
“We’re all trying to just cope,” Gasser said. “It’s going to be tough to stay by yourself for a while. But we’ll get through it.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.