Community steps up to care for its nursing home residents

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A couple of weeks ago, Christine Basey and Janie Key who started Hope for the Lonely began collecting tablets to distribute to the nursing home residents so they could stay connected to their families. Forty tablets have been divided between Grandview Manor, Macon Valley and Franklin House, but more are needed. Pictured left to right are Debra Strum, Grandview administrator; Lillie Zentmeyer, Macon Valley activity director; Alicia Jimenez, Franklin House resident care manager;Brian Walker Synergy IT Solutions; Christine Basey and Janie Key.

Deena C. Bouknight – Contributing Writer

Debra Strum Grandview administrator and Christine Basey

A few weeks ago, Macon County News reported  on an initiative, started by local nurse Janie Key and her friend Christine Basey, owner of Christine’s Home Décor, to provide donated tablets to nursing home residents who have no access to friends, families, church sermons, etc. According to Key, 40 tablets were donated last Friday, April 24, and another 38 more on Monday, April 27. 

Janie Key and Lillie Zentmeyer, Macon Valley activity director

“We are shooting for another 120 to 150 (simple tablets with basic apps) for able-bodied residents at three Franklin-located nursing homes, and we are wanting to help residents in Highlands and Nantahala as well,” said Key. “God is making miracles happen.”

According to Hannah Strum, human resources manager at Grandview Manor Care Center in Franklin, a staff member recently came up with a cheery way to brighten spirits of its residents – since no visitors are allowed during the N.C. stay-at-home mandate, which has been extended  to at least May 8 by N.C. Governor Roy Cooper. 

Grandview Manor staff member John Charles has made it his mission to bring excitement and laughter to residents everyday that he works. He does this by wearing a silly costume or hat that he makes himself at home and surprises residents the following day. Hannah Strum with Grandview Manor says, “He has come up with several ideas, and never does the same one twice. It is creative and the residents have enjoyed it so very much. They look forward to every day when they can guess what John is going to be wearing and have truly gotten enjoyment out of this.”

“This has proven to be difficult on our residents who are missing their families and normalcy of their everyday lives,” said Strum. To combat residents’ loneliness, she explained that one of Grandview’s staff members, John Charles, “made it his mission to bring excitement and laughter. He does this by wearing a silly costume or hat that he makes himself at home and then surprises our residents. He has come up with several ideas, and he never does the same one twice. It is silly, but it is also creative and the residents have enjoyed it so very much. They look forward to every day when they can guess what John is going to be wearing and have truly gotten enjoyment out of this.”

Throughout these last 30-plus days of quarantine, area children have drawn and colored pictures, people have sent cards, and anonymous donors have ordered flower arrangements to cheer up the few hundred people residing at Franklin’s nursing home facilities. 

The Flower Company, in fact, located on Georgia Road, launched on March 17 at the start of the COVID-19 crisis a buy-one-get-one to local nursing facilities. 

“Buy one floral arrangement and get the other one for free to any nursing home of your choice in Franklin or Clayton,” said owner Lori Cabe. “Make someone smile as we could all use some flowers to brighten our day. We are also waiving the $8 delivery fee.”

Regarding Grandview and Charles’ efforts at lifting Grandview residents’ spirits, Strum said, “John puts a great amount of time, thought, and effort into carrying this out every day. It is also something that we are proud of because he has gone above and beyond to help our residents find joy and laughter. It has truly given them something to look forward to among the uncertainty of everything else going on.”

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1 COMMENT

  1. EXCELLENT article by Deena Bouknight! Thank you for covering this very worthy cause. We hope to hear more about “Hope for the Lonely” project.

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