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Nursing home residents reunited with families

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    Green Acres Health & Rehabilitation hosted a “drive-by parade” for residents late last week at its facility on Allen Memorial Drive. Photos by MIYKA BANKS/Staff
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A line of cars followed a wailing firetruck through Green Acres Health & Rehabilitation’s circular drive last Friday, many with their windows down and signs held out with sweet messages written to parents, grandparents and caregivers.

Families called to their elderly loved ones and were met with sheer delight. Caregivers and residents alike cheered with each passing vehicle, and it was clear both residents and staff enjoyed the parade. Green Acres is one of many assisted-living facilities around the nation that have organized a parade for residents, allowing families to visit their loved ones in a unique, festive way while maintaining social distancing.

“It was wonderful,” said resident Agnes Daniels. “They did a good job getting it ready.”

Her sentiment was echoed by other residents, including Mary Myrick, who saw her twin granddaughters in the parade. residents, including Mary Myrick, who saw her twin granddaughters in the parade.

Green Acres’ administrator, Wylene Bloodworth, said the facility prepared for several weeks leading up to the parade.

“It was our activity director, Rita Crane’s idea,” Bloodworth said.

Due to COVID-19, assisted-living facilities have restricted visitations for the safety of residents, but many have gotten creative and found ways to keep residents connected with their families.

“All nursing homes are participating in the restricted visitation,” Bloodworth said. “We thought it would be nice for the families to be able to see their loved ones, and have something festive and exciting for our patients, our family, our staff and the community.”

The parade was a celebration for both families and caregivers, as it fell on National Skilled Nursing Care Week, which is an annual celebration important to nursing homes, according to Bloodworth that has been held since 1967.

“The department heads, the staff, the families and the residents were all very excited about it, and it was a team effort,” she said.