COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A little over a month ago, Governor Henry McMaster restricted all visitation in nursing homes and assisted livng facilities.
It’s an effort to protect the elderly and those with preexisting conditions, populations that officials have said are more at risk of having serious complications if they get COVID-19.
For thousands of residents living in these facilities, it’s left them in many ways isolated and cut off from their loved ones and the community. However, one skilled nursing home in St. Matthews is getting creative and giving residents a colorful way to see their loved ones and connect with new people.
On Wednesday, the Calhoun Convalescent Center’s windows were all colorfully painted by family members and volunteers. It’s a way for families and volunteers to see the residents face to face, and brighten their days during a time that can feel lonely and isolating.
Dusty Spires’ grandfather talks to her and her kids through the window and watches as they paint rainbows, crosses, and messages in bright colors on his window.
“It’s a way to bring joy to them, even if it’s through a window,” Dusty Spires said.
Spires said it’s been more than a month since her grandfather has seen them in person.
“They are kind of in jail. They can’t see their families,” Spires said.
However, she hopes the painting keeps her grandfather uplifted even after they leave.
“He’s enjoying every minute of it and I’m sure all the other residents are, too,” Spires said.
All the residents at Calhoun Convalescent Center have colorful paintings on their windows as part of a program the facility started called “Adopt a Window.”
“They are so happy when you enter the rooms. They will say, ‘Look, they are painting my window!’ And all of the residents -- it has just brought so much joy to their lives,” Melissa Kizer, a Calhoun Convalescent RN Administrator, said.
It’s a way to spread joy for all the residents and give them a way to connect with their families or new friends.
Each window is unique with different themes and illustrations. Some with animals and flowers. Others with stained glass and Easter messages. However, the one thing they all have in common is they are painted with bright colors. It’s one small way to get through what can feel like a dark time.
“This has really put everything in perspective on time with your loved ones. We all get busy, but this has really brought a new perspective,” Spires said.
Spires said that new perspective includes giving more hugs to her family and making more visits to see her grandfather when the home reopens and, until then, spending quality time and spreading joy through a colorful window.
The visitation restrictions are difficult, but something that officials said is necessary as COVID-19 continues to take the lives of those in nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the nation.