Motorists driving by the Berlin Nursing Home last Thursday night might have been worried when they saw a ladder truck from the Ocean City Fire Department at the Berlin Nursing Home.
In reality, good deeds were being carried out by the area’s first responders. The firefighters were delivering new blankets to nursing home residents in honor of Delores Kenny, a former beloved resident of the facility.
Before the pandemic, the effort also involved spending some time with the senior citizens and bringing good cheer and joy to their lives. In today’s world, personal face-to-face time is not possible. Therefore, the firefighters delivered their donations but thought bringing Santa to the nursing home — via a ladder truck outside their windows — might brighten the residents’ day a bit. In separate efforts, Ocean City firefighters partnered with colleagues from Berlin to “stuff a truck” with toys for underprivileged youth in our community. These are laudable examples of giving back to the community.
While the toy campaign is certainly a huge success, the pictures of the firetruck with Santa on the ladder waving to residents inside the nursing home say it all. It’s equally heart-warming as heart breaking. As anyone with family members in nursing homes during the pandemic understands well, these citizens have been left behind. Due to their own health concerns and mandated safety practices, visitation has been severely limited and even restricted at many facilities, resulting in further isolation for these folks from family and friends.
It’s understandable there is a need to keep the facility and its residents safe. An outbreak at a nursing home would be deadly. Heightened health and safety measures make sense, but it’s unacceptable for these citizens to live their latter years alone. Fortunately, technology has provided some communication opportunities for the families, offering some comfort along the way,
Nonetheless, the severe isolation of nursing home residents – referred to as the silent victims — has been a serious consequence of the pandemic and will likely continue for several months.
It’s why the efforts of the fire department to spearhead an outreach effort is so important. Anything to break up the routine of the day – especially during the holidays – is commendable. The social visit to raise spirits means as much as the gift, in this case a new blanket.