N.S. man’s generous donation keeps seniors connected during COVID-19 pandemic
SYDNEY -- Many people are fighting a feeling of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those most affected are residents living in nursing homes.
After the World Health Organization officially declared the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus a pandemic, hospitals and nursing homes in Nova Scotia announced visitors would no longer be allowed.
Glen Muise lives in Sydney, N.S. He says he began to think about the seniors who were no longer able to visit with their loved ones and found it really hard to handle.
Muise decided to turn his focus to figuring out how he could help to keep those seniors connected.
“I had some savings put aside and I was thinking, ‘That rainy day's here. People need this,’” says Muise.
So, Muise emptied his saving account to purchase a 90-inch projector screen, a laptop, Bluetooth speakers, and a microphone, and delivered them to McGillivray Guest Home in Sydney.
“It was overwhelming. What he has done for us has meant so much,” says Kim Hooper, director of recreation at McGillivray Guest Home.
Residents started using the technology right away, enjoying everything from watching movies and concerts, to Skyping and FaceTiming with loved ones.
“They can't wait to do it. They kind of get a little chuckle out of seeing themselves on the FaceTime for the first time,” says Hooper.
“The family are so happy that they have that connection with their loved ones during this difficult time.”
Hooper says that connection is more important than ever, as staff at the home try to fend off not only COVID-19, but isolation and loneliness.
“Depression can set in so quickly, so we try to keep them as socially active as possible. That 15-minute phone call to their loved one goes a long way,” says Hooper.
Muise figures he spent nearly $1,200 on the technology, but says you can't put a price on the smiles on the seniors' faces.
“We're fighting fear and fear is fought with smiles,” says Muise.
“There's a lot of smiles over at McGillivray Guest Home and that keeps me right up there. It's almost like a high,” says Muise.
As word of Muise’s kind gesture spread, others started to contact the home in the hopes of improving the lives of residents.
“We weren't expecting the influx of phone calls, people wanting to donate money, people wanting to donate some more equipment,” says Hooper. “It’s fantastic.”