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‘It made me feel very loved’: Social distancing parade brings encouragement to Trinity Oaks residents

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — As nursing homes and other congregate living facilities restrict visitors to protect against the spread of COVID-19, parades from family following social distancing rules are showing residents they are loved.

Trinity Oaks, a senior living facility located on Klumac Road, hosted parades all throughout Sunday, allowing residents to see their families and loved ones from a distance.

Marjorie Kelly, a resident at the facility’s apartments, said the parade gave everyone a lift and helps morale during this difficult time.

“It’s sad, but we’re getting through it,” Kelly said, adding that the facility treats residents really well.

All of the residents wore masks, and many waved American flags and their homemade signs. Kelly held up a sign calling on her family to send her wine — pinot grigio, specifically.

Lorie Aldridge, who serves Trinity Oaks as the director of marketing and sales, said the facility had the idea a few days ago to enable residents to see their families. The parade was campus-wide. Health and rehabilitation residents were treated with the parade first, followed by a route for the apartment residents and then the cottage residents.

The parade was promoted via social media and with messages sent to family members.

“(The parade) meant everything,” Aldridge said. “These folks, they are missing their families. A lot of them are able to communicate via FaceTime, but that still doesn’t take the place of being able to lay eyes on someone — their loved ones.”

Aldridge said the overall atmosphere among the campus has been positive. The facility has planned events a few times each week to keep the residents’ spirits lifted, including bingo and free cupcakes.

Additionally, the staff recently entertained the residents by choreographing a dance to “Shake Your Groove Thing,” Aldridge said. Staff have also taught some residents how to use Zoom.

Another resident, Mary Anne Scherff, said the parade made her feel “very loved.”

“(My family) owes me lots of kisses,” Scherff said.

Resident Yvonne Draper said using FaceTime to video chat with her family helps, but she “wants to touch them.” She added that the parade provided residents with encouragement.

Aldridge said the facility is planning festivities for future holidays, including Cinco De Mayo, Mother’s Day and Independence Day. Gov. Roy Cooper has set guidelines and phases for businesses to gradually reopen in the coming weeks, but congregate living facilities will be among the last to completely reopen. Thus, the future events may also be held “social distancing style.”

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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