Before the pandemic, June Sparks’ family members visited her almost daily at Arbor Terrace of Decatur, often taking her out to eat or to go shopping. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, those outings had to stop, in the interest of safety.
Still, Sparks' daughter, Carolyn Cook, is grateful for the times the family can continue to share with her mother, and for the support of the Arbor team. She’s written about her experiences in a post on her blog, Lifelong Metamorphoses, entitled “A Window on Kindness.”
“Mom is fine, thanks to a group of hardworking people I only see through a window,” Cook wrote. “Once again, I’m amazed by my mother’s resilience and grateful for the people who support her.”
Cook also expressed her appreciation for Eversound technology, which makes window visits easier and more meaningful. Staff members bring Sparks to the window, with Cook and any other visiting family members seated outside. They set up each visitor and the resident with wireless headphones and lavalier mics. That allows Cook to be heard by her mother, who is hard of hearing, despite the window barrier.
The visits are loads of fun. Cook and her sister, Juliana Lancaster, bring art books and children’s books to share through the window. Cook brings her ukulele, and they all join in for renditions of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” and “You Are My Sunshine.”
“We play music, sing songs, look at pictures and just enjoy each other’s company,” Cook said. “The Eversound system has made all the difference in the world.”
Arbor partnered with Eversound about a year ago, to bring its amplifying technology to 11 Arbor Company communities. Originally, the technology was intended to help hearing impaired residents participate more fully in group activities, but with the pandemic, it's become an invaluable tool for visiting while social distancing.
Sparks is a 10-year resident of Arbor Terrace of Decatur’s assisted living neighborhood. Before retiring, she was a math professor at Dalton State College. Afterward, she was an active community volunteer, serving with Meals on Wheels and a food pantry, tutoring girls at a group foster home, and at least four times a week, playing her violin for seniors in nursing homes.
“Mom has dementia now, and the disease is slowly but surely progressing,” Cook said. “But her heart and soul are still everything they always have been – loving and wonderful.”
In her blog, Cook praised members of the team at Arbor Terrace at Decatur.
“They’re skilled at their jobs, and they appreciate Mom as an individual,” she said. “Several staff members have worked there the whole time she’s been there. Especially during COVID, I have come to realize how wonderful they are.”