By Valerie Kramer & Jalexa Schell
At Zarrow Pointe, we pride ourselves on our people. The people that live here, work here and come to visit are all part of an extended community that make Zarrow Pointe the exceptional senior living center that it is.
Before Covid-19, our campus was always lively with visitors coming to see loved ones, attend special events such as concerts and movie nights, swim in one of our beautiful community pools, grab a great bite in our dining room or café, or even attend specialized classes.
However, with the start of social distancing, things have looked quite a bit different lately. Campus has become quieter, we have had more time to look inwards, reflect, adapt, and hopefully take this negative in stride to a more positive outcome. We have learned new things and cultivated new hobbies and interests, but most importantly we have been reminded that true fulfillment comes from our relationships: it’s the people in our lives that make all the difference.
So, we have found new ways to stay connected. Phone calls have become more special, technology a tool for reconnection rather than distraction. Our activities team dedicated themselves to making sure that residents were able to see their loved ones via video chats using phones and tablets. We even created innovative visitation booths that allow families to unite face-to-face under safe conditions (with proper distancing measures in place). And while we long to be closer to our family and friends, we have also stayed busy in new and creative ways.
Rising to meet the challenges of the pandemic head-on, a group of our residents organized a mask-making assembly line in our auditorium. Distanced but focused, they worked as a team with some residents sewing, some cutting fabric and some trimming filters to insert into the masks. Together, this dedicated crew made over 1,500 masks for local hospitals and healthcare facilities. One of the area hospitals christened them ‘The Masketeers’. They worked very hard to achieve their goal and we could not be more proud of their efforts.
One of the most popular and well-attended events on campus has always been the Paint & Sip art hour, but under the new guidelines we have had to adapt and been given the chance to think about art in a new way. One of our employees drew an art piece spanning 35 canvases that residents were able to choose from to paint. Once each individual canvas was completed, we combined them all together again to create one large, beautiful piece that showcases the vibrancy and uniqueness of our campus. It will soon be framed and displayed as a centerpiece in our Town Center.
Musical performances have always been an integral piece of Zarrow Pointe culture as well; we have hosted the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, The Piatigorsky Foundation and countless local artists for our residents and families to enjoy. Music is such a mood changer and a way to lift spirits that we knew we had to find a way to continue bringing that joy to our residents during these difficult times. One solution has been the advent of outdoor concerts where residents can enjoy the music from their own porches or balconies. There has been something so wonderfully bonding and powerful in enjoying these artists perform in the open air that harkens back to simpler times and has been a real highlight of the past few months. In fact, they have been such a hit that this may be a tradition we will keep from here on out.
Overall, it’s no secret that change is difficult. Adapting and overcoming these unique circumstances hasn’t been easy, but it has shown us our creativity, our resilience and our hearts. We are truly stronger as a community and even when distant, we are not divided. Of course, everything is easier to overcome when you are surrounded by such amazing people.