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Mother’s Day from a distance
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Main West Post Acute resident Marilyn Scott holds a sign to thank those who drove by to wish the center a happy Mother’s Day on Sunday.

Residents at the Main West Post Acute nursing home in Turlock got a pleasant surprise this weekend when their friends and family members joined forces to form a car caravan of well wishes for Mother’s Day.

A parade of over 40 cars drove by the center with messages like “Queen in Quarantine” written on posters, flowers taped to their passenger side doors and even balloons hanging out of windows to make sure the holiday was special for the MWPA community, who haven’t been able to see any visitors since the coronavirus pandemic began.

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Over 40 cars drove by the nursing home, giving well wishes to residents who haven’t had visitors since the coronavirus pandemic began.

“It was so important that the mothers who live here got to see their children, and especially since they haven’t seen each other in so long,” MWPA area director of activities Nancy Chanthavong said. “It was very emotional. Life is so short and you don’t know what's going to happen, so taking that opportunity to celebrate Mother’s Day whether it was at a distance or not was something we wanted to do.”

Plenty of tears were shed by both residents and their families as they drove by. Marilyn Scott, who lives at MWPA, insisted on holding a sign made by the nursing home staff which read “Thank You” with a heart in order to let those passing by in their cars know how grateful she was for the gesture.

“She was so thankful, and she just held it there thanking the family members as they drove by,” Chanthavong said. “It got a little chaotic as more and more cars showed up, but it was totally worth it. I was speechless and had tears myself.”

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Staff at Main West Post Acute have kept residents entertained by dressing up in fun outfits to deliver treats and help them play games.

There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at MWPA so far. Extreme measures have been taken at MWPA in order to keep residents safe, Chanthavong said, like proper mask use, continuous sanitization and social distancing measures between staff. Fun events like dances, games and concerts formerly took place in the center’s activities room, but now there is silence as residents are unfortunately confined to their rooms.

“It’s unfortunate what’s going on at (Turlock Nursing and Rehabilitation Center). We pray for them and we even had a poster for them during the car parade. We are very blessed and thankful that we have no patients and no staff with COVID, and we feel safe because we will continue to do the things that we have been doing,” Chanthavong said. “There aren’t even group activities anymore, which is very hard for the residents and even for us.”

To help take residents’ minds off of the pandemic, MWPA staff does all they can to still make life at the center fun. For games of bingo, staff members walk from room to room with the chosen number written on a poster so that residents can mark it off their boards. Carts carrying Starbucks coffee and Baskin Robbins ice cream are a common sight in the hallways, and the staff always dress in fun outfits — like the day they were all different Disney characters — to keep residents entertained.

From the positive attitudes of the residents to the hardworking determination of MWPA’s certified nursing aides, housekeepers, dietary department and other staff members, it takes a village to keep the center safe and content during this unprecedented time.

“It’s very hard and everybody's at risk, but we’re still a team and show up every day with a smile to try to keep the residents safe and happy,” Chanthavong said.