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Time to show we care

There isn’t much local people can do to prevent things like the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at Essex Center in Elizabethtown, other than expressing horror — and maybe calling on state and federal leaders to do more to protect nursing homes. But there is something we all can do for the people who live and work in our elder homes.

We can show them we’re thinking of them. We can tell them we care about them. We can bring them good cheer.

The brave and wonderful front-line workers at these residences are surely nervous and scared. The residents must be anxious, too. They’re also lonely — even more so than before, because visitation was once again stopped this past week, in light of the Essex Center outbreak. That was the right call, just as it was in March when the pandemic began, but it’s hard on these residents. It’s also hard on their family members, who miss seeing them.

Some of these residents get to socialize with their in-house neighbors, but some aren’t well enough to get up and about. They can chat with staff, but staff are often incredibly busy. They can talk with family members and friends by phone or video call, but that isn’t the same as seeing them in person. Even the lucky ones who hear from loved ones every day are left with many long hours to while away.

It would lift their spirits a great deal to see a sign that people on the outside care about them.

So let’s do that.

We are calling on all of our readers to send some kind of supportive message to at least one local elder home. It could be a letter, an image or a video. It could be to residents, workers or both. It could be to a single person or to a bunch of people. It’s up to you.

It’s better to do this digitally, to avoid spreading germs on paper. We have reached out to local nursing homes and rehabilitation centers, as well as assisted-living residences for older people, and they gave us email addresses and websites. A staff member on the other end of each one will receive these messages and distribute them appropriately.

Here they are:

– Essex Center, Elizabethtown — email to Candy Goff, recreation director, at cgoff@essexrehab.net.

– Elderwood of Uihlein at Lake Placid — submit online at www.elderwood.com/virtual-message.

– Mercy Living Center, Tupper Lake — submit online at www.adirondackhealth.org/send-a-message.

– Saranac Village at Will Rogers, Saranac Lake — email to retireatwillrogers@saranacvillage.com.

– Keene Valley Neighborhood House, Keene Valley — email to Melanie LaFontaine at melaniekvnh@gmail.com.

If you don’t have a computer, don’t worry. Bring your message to the Lake Placid News/Adirondack Daily Enterprise office at 54 Broadway, Saranac Lake, and our staff will take a picture of it and submit it digitally for you.

If you are sure what to say, don’t worry. Even a simple “I’m thinking of you” will go a long way. But don’t hesitate to do something more fun, like a video of you singing, playing music, doing a dance or telling a joke.

Be sure to include your name, because when they get your message, they will be thinking of you in return, and they’ll want to know whom to think of. We hope these homes see a flood of messages. Let’s turn this time from stressful to joyful.

Here’s ours:

Hey, elder home residents and valiant front-line workers! We know it’s hard not to have visitors during this crazy pandemic time, but please know that we love you, we look up to you, and we think about you all the time here at the Enterprise office. We’re asking all of our readers to join us in sending messages to you, showing they care about you as well.

How are you doing? What do you think of all this? Really, we’d love to hear from any of you: news, views or whatever. You can always send us a letter by email to news@adirondackdailyenterprise.com or by mail to Adirondack Daily Enterprise, P.O. Box 318, Saranac Lake, NY 12983. Let us know whether you want us to publish it as a letter to the editor. We’re sure our readers would like to hear from you as well.

Keep your chin up. We’ll get through this.

Sincerely,

The News and Enterprise staff