Vermont nursing home residents cope with isolation during pandemic

Coronavirus

Nursing homes have been severely impacted by the coronavirus. As the pandemic continues, some residents are feeling more isolated than ever. 

Woodridge Rehabilitation and Nursing has managed to stay virus, but has only allowed residents half-hour visits from friends and family.

For many of the residents, this isn’t enough, said psychologist Michael Zacharias, who says he has seen an increase in loneliness among nursing home residents. 

“That certainly contributes to a sense of depression,”  Zacharias said. “Folks are stressed.”  

To help cope, Zacharias encourages residents to get involved in activities. At Woodridge Rehabilitation and Nursing, that means small-group activities, movies and BINGO. 

George Gerrish has been a resident at Woodridge Rehabilitation and Nursing since June 2019. Being away from his family has been especially difficult. 

“My youngest brother is still alive, and he wants to get up here,” Gerrish said. “Before I came here, he used to come to my apartment every single day.” 

Now with the limited visiting hours, George isn’t able to see his family as often. Despite the difficult times he tries to have a positive outlook. “I just try to live with the way things are going, take things as they come and go,” he said. 

Starting Oct. 24, nursing homes will allow residents to have 20-minute visits with two family members, per the order of Gov. Phil Scott.

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