The Unseen, But Known Community
I was asked at our last board meeting how the residents are faring during this difficult time if they cannot spend time together, seeing as many of them have explained how important the community is to them. I answered that they are staying as connected as they can, but are generally feeling more isolation than normal. I think this is true. Most of our residents are alone or only with their families now. Some of them are still working, so they are seeing others, although not their neighbors. Our smokers are still heading outside and practicing social distancing as they chat over a cigarette or pipe. We dropped food off at doors last week and residents greeted each other across the hallways. Our residents are seeing each other periodically and at a distance, and are also supporting one another in other ways. Residents have been leaving food on the bench downstairs, offering to pick up food for others. One resident has been cooking for a disabled resident who is struggling to stand to cook for himself. They are connected.
While these little moments of contact are life giving, it is the knowledge of community that is vital. Our residents know that an email or a phone call will bring help for them from our staff or a neighbor. They know that in an emergency they can count on their neighbors to help them. There is a sense of calm and quiet in the building, and while it may be a sign of some loneliness, it is also due to the comfort and serenity that our residents can hold, knowing their community can support them and will go on when all of this is over. It is the work of our residents, but also all those who support us – board members, volunteers, supporters – who have made this deep knowledge and trust in community possible. Although we could have never predicted our community would be tested in this way, I am beyond grateful that the strength this moment calls for has long been developed in our little corner of the world.
Filed Under: Residents