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Family visits Kensington resident through window as facility closes to public
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Family visits Kensington resident through window as facility closes to public

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While families can contact residents at retirement facilities by talking on the phone and video chat apps, others have brought a whole new meaning to the term “social distancing."

On Wednesday, Katherine Sedlacek and Sharon Hofeling traveled from Lincoln and Firth to visit their mother, 91-year-old Helen Willet, at The Kensington Senior Living Facility in Beatrice.

Supplied with lawn chairs, drinks, homemade cherry pie and cookies, the women sat outside and spent a sunny afternoon seeing their mom through a window while talking to her on the phone. A Kensington employee acted as a go-between so Willet could have some of the sweets, as well.

“Phones are okay,” Sedlacek said. "We’ve tried to get her to do iPad. She does that once in a while with FaceTime. But she misses hugs, and so do we."

“She’s used to seeing us more often, so she’s very lonely,” Hofeling said.

The three talked about the masks Sedlacek and Hofeling made for the Kensington, and that Willet could select mask designs for individuals.

The CDC said healthcare professionals may use homemade masks like bandanas and scarves when facemasks are not available. Since homemade masks aren’t considered personal protective equipment, and their ability to protect healthcare professionals is unknown, the CDC said caution should be used when considering this option. They recommend homemade masks be used in combination with a face shield that extends to the chin or below and covers both sides of ones face.

Since people 65 and older have an increased risk for severe illness should they contract COVID-19, retirement homes and other facilities have closed to the public to minimize the spread of the disease.

Other CDC recommendations for long-term care facilities include rapid identification and management of ill residents, restricting all volunteers and non-essential healthcare personnel, canceling all group activities and communal dining and providing education and training to staff.

“The Kensington is awesome,” Sedlacek said. “They’re all like family. She loves it here.”

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