These are indeed unprecedented times, and physical separation has become the way of life for many — families, friends, communities — especially in our long-term communities.
While not the total antidote for real life visits, connections have continued via technology. As activity director of Ovation Jewish Home, I have the privilege of helping many residents see their loved ones through video chats. Whether via Facetime, Skype, Zoom, or What’s App,
families “see” their family members in new ways.
Video visits happen across all three communities — Ovation Jewish Home, Chai Point, and Sarah Chudnow — and like “it takes a village,” so many people make video visits possible. Michael Opitz and Erik Comardo may not be names you hear, but they are the IT department and have worked on setting up iPads and accounts so families can see their loved ones. Activity staff at all three facilities assist with video calls and nursing staff pitch in when needed. You may know of other staff who have contributed to making these calls possible.
New experiences have also opened up in the wake of video visits — long-distance families connecting via Zoom, birthday celebrations, spouse and grandchildren visits. One resident watched a family bris from out of state while others see live entertainers and virtual tours via
Zoom or other platforms. When residents aren’t able to come light the candles for Shabbat, Rabbi Emmer Facetimes with residents at the Jewish Home as he lights the Shabbat candles. Both Rabbis used video technology for spiritual engagement when physical distancing is required. Staff have been able to continue to meet and talk with more family members than they normally would — all are connections. While nothing takes the place of in-person interactions, our heart-to-heart connections thrive through the medium of technology.
Photo: Ruby Roby stays connected with family through video call.