MINT HILL, NC – On Easter Monday, Bonnie Hovey and Angela Prince rallied the community to provide an Easter celebration for the residents at Mint Hill Senior Living.
The past year has challenged everyone, but it’s been especially difficult for residents at facilities like Mint Hill Senior Living. At high risk for severe complications from COVID-19, the elderly living in residential facilities have spent the better part of the year on lockdown, unable to leave or receive visits from friends and family. It’s been especially difficult for Mint Hill Senior Living’s memory care residents, who often struggle with available means of communication like Zoom calls and window visits.
Determined to continue their tradition of holiday parties for the facility, Hovey and Prince managed to host socially distanced Christmas and Valentine’s Day parties this winter. Monday’s Easter celebration included several treats for the residents courtesy of generous individuals and businesses in the community: cake purchased by Prince, donuts donated by April Burroughs at Dunkin’ Donuts, and an Easter basket for each resident containing items like stuffed animals, toiletries, activity books, and other goodies.
As usual, members from all sections of the Mint Hill community contributed to make the Easter baskets happen. Debbie Carver from Mama K’s donated popcorn. Kathy Barrier hand-made 65 crosses to give to each of the residents. Walking By Faith Community Church donated many items, as did Locust Presbyterian Church.
After three in-house vaccine clinics for residents, staff, and medical providers, visitor restrictions have been eased slightly at Mint Hill Senior Living. Just two weeks ago, they began allowing scheduled, socially distant, in-person visits in the front living room. Residents are also now allowed to leave the facility with family.
“We are so ready for the next step to allow visitors like we used to!” says Business Office Manager Audra Jolly. “We thrive on physical touch. The staff has made a point to love on our residents, but we aren’t family, we aren’t friends, and as much as we try, life can’t fully be restored until then. To be able to have visitors inside their rooms, hanging out in the living spaces, and more freely come and go as they wish would mean everything to them.”
In the meantime, parties like the one that took place Monday are one more way to show the residents that they haven’t been forgotten. “The residents look forward to what Bonnie and Angela may do next!” says Jolly. “They have become our family, not just volunteers. To know that our community loves us and didn’t forget us while we were gone and have pushed with us during the pandemic means so much in a world where unity is becoming a foreign thing.”
“I do this because I just love these seniors, and they’re often forgotten during the holidays,” says Hovey. “I am hoping that more people will be willing to come and visit the seniors, do puzzles, play games, and ‘adopt a senior’ to do things with like they would their own parents.” It’s that human interaction that’s more important than any Easter basket or cake, and Hovey sincerely hopes that conditions can improve enough to allow for children to visit at Halloween. She hopes to use gift cards donated from two different Food Lions to purchase candy for the seniors to give out so they can see children trick-or-treating in costume at the facility.
Until it’s possible to visit freely once again, Mint Hill Senior Living always welcomes donations from the community. “If you offer entertainment and can donate your time we can have outdoor music and open our garden doors so the residents can enjoy the music,” suggests Jolly.