Column: Finding ways to spread joy

Deborah Rose

Deborah Rose

Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media

Life as we know it has changed.

Over the course of the past few weeks, our way of interacting with one another, doing business, participating in recreational activities and daily living has been transformed.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has everyone on high alert, as we should be, as we follow state- and federal-mandated recommendations in the hopes of reducing the spread of the virus.

It’s as if we are living in a science fiction movie: a limited number of cars are on the roads, store shelves are emptied of food, cleaning supplies and toilet paper, children are home from school for the foreseeable future and we are limiting our in-person interactions with our friends and loved ones.

Those who have the highest risk of catching the virus include those over 60 and those who have compromised immune systems and underlying health conditions.

The majority of us have parents, close friends or loved ones who fall into one of those categories. Or, maybe you are in the high-risk group.

I am, as are several family members and close friends who have chronic health conditions. We must take extra precautions during this time.

My mind is especially focused on the vulnerable. And that includes those in nursing and convalescent homes and skilled care facilities, and those individuals who have already been restricted to their homes for various health reasons.

Following state recommendations, nursing and convalescent homes and skilled care facilities restricted visitors March 9 to protect residents. That is paramount.

As a frequent visitor of a local skilled care facility to see a loved one, my heart breaks. Not just because my family can no longer visit our loved one, but because all residents are limited to guests.

Many residents of care facilities have limited — or no — family members who pay visits.

They rely on staff and other visitors to bring them joy.

My heart always feels full when I stop by a care center and see the residents.

I love sharing smiles, hellos and conversations, and enjoy pushing a resident in a wheelchair to the destination they desire — just to help out.

Being kind and participating in simple tasks is rewarding for me, but also brings joy to others.

During these strange and uncertain times, the decision to restrict visitors is necessary. Finding new ways to communicate with those who reside in care centers and are restricted to their homes is important.

This is where technology comes in.

Thanks to online video capabilities, we can communicate with friends and family, including those at care centers.

Conversations on the phone are nice but seeing a loved one via video can really lift one’s spirits.

Video also enables an individual who may not be able to speak the opportunity to “be “with their loved one.

Over the past week, I’ve participated in FaceTime calls with several loved ones, including an individual in a care center.

It was wonderful to see everyone by video, and especially gratifying to see elders who normally don’t use technology.

As we move forward under tight restrictions, make use of the phone and technology to keep in touch with everyone.

We need to stay in communication with one another; it’s vital.

Deborah Rose is a lifelong New Milford resident who has worked at The Spectrum since its inception in 1998. She can be reached by email at