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Athens nursing home gets creative during pandemic: pen pals, dance video goes viral

During the pandemic, residents of nursing homes across the country haven’t been able to have visitors like they normally would. Limestone Manor is no exception.

ATHENS, Ala. — An administrator at Limestone Manor, an Athens nursing home posted a video of residents doing "Hallway Hokey Pokey" and it's been viewed thousands of times online. The home has been sharing different ways they’re making the most out of life with restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic on social media.


We met with Delois Bailey, an Administrator at Limestone Manor, and the woman who posted the viral dance video. Bailey tells us activities are crucial for residents during the pandemic and Limestone Manor has been doing just about everything. Bailey adds, “I think the first thing we did was the Hallway Hokey Pokey, and that kind of went viral. And we started doing doorway bingo and just other doorway games.” 

During the pandemic, residents of nursing homes across the country haven’t been able to have visitors like they normally would, or come and go as they please. Limestone Manor is no exception. Bailey tells our reporter these changes took a toll on residents. She adds, “It was kind of like they went into a bit of depression, you know? That’s when me and the staff realized that we had to come together and make activities more exciting more involved than ever before.” 

So staff got creative, starting a pen pal program that’s really taken off. Bailey says, “The mailman even asked ‘What are y'all doing?’ Because we’re getting stacks of mail each day.” She also tells our reporter they’ve been getting cards, letters and pictures from all over the country. Adding, “They’re really appreciating the fact that people are thinking of them.” 

They've even had to think outside the box for visitation. The home started up “porch visits” to allow residents to see their loved ones. Bailey explains, “We have a gazebo in the back so, our visits have been backyard visits. Six feet apart, everyone still has to have their masks on. No touching, no hugging, no kissing of course.” 

She says the no contact can be hard for residents after missing their families, but everyone complies. Family members call in ahead of time to schedule the visits and safety is taken into account. She adds, “We do 30 minute time slots with 15 minutes in between so we have enough time to sanitize.

Like so many other things during the pandemic-- it’s different. But, it makes all the difference. 

Bailey tells us Limestone Manor is even planning a drive-by parade for all the home’s grandparents on September 13th. 

Limestone Manor is looking for donations of cleaning supplies like Clorox wipes and Lysol. Click here to connect with them on Facebook and find out how you can give. 

You can find the Limestone Manor website here

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