With assisted living homes not allowing visitors during the coronavirus pandemic and dealing with a growing feeling of isolation from residents and families, they’re getting more creative with programming.

As part of their programming efforts, Commonwealth Senior Living in South Boston recently shared a smile from several residents with a message written on dry erase boards to their families on its Facebook page.

Arthur told his family he misses singing with them, but he’s still singing, and Linda asked her family to pat the dogs for her while reminding them to stay healthy.

It was part of a company-wide program that has had an impact not only on their residents and their families, but the community as a whole, according to Christy Puckett, sales and marketing director of Commonwealth Senior Living.

“I had a lady who told me she never thought about how she would feel if she couldn’t see her mom every day. She broke down and cried,” said Puckett.

“It’s a scary time, but we’re glad we were able to do that and have them connect with their loved one.”

But using virtual means for residents to connect with their families isn’t anything new.

For a little over four years, Puckett said, the residents have enjoyed their Smile program that allows them to share photos and information with the residents’ families in a secure manner on a daily basis.

“Even though the Coronavirus has stopped families from being able to visit, distance has always been an obstacle for families that live out of town. The families and residents benefit greatly from this,” said Puckett.

She said some families live hundreds of miles away.

The sales and marking director also credited Jennie Cullum, program director, Erika Gennari, director of marketing and communications, and others in the company for helping them “think outside the box” and come up with creative ways to continue programming.

Not only are they amping up their Smile program, but also she said they’re having to come up with creative ways to continue to hold some of the residents’ favorite programs such as bingo or Bible study due to the recommended six-foot distance between persons.

Chairs have been placed outside of their rooms, and they’ve played bingo from the doorways. She also said they have a resident who is able to host the Bible study.

“Our goal is to make sure our residents stay healthy and happy,” said Puckett.

They also are still welcoming new residents and have increased their screening process and are hosting virtual tours with prospective families.

“We’re still serving new families during this tough time,” said Puckett, who noted they currently are serving 66 families.

“We consider it a privilege and a honor to care for these residents and their families.”

Families can anticipate seeing the assisted living home’s Facebook presence increase over the next few days.

Follow Commonwealth Senior Living at South Boston on Facebook.

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com