Local News

Nursing home lights luminaries as ray of light for residents, loved ones during pandemic

Posted July 15, 2020 10:58 p.m. EDT

The decision on Tuesday by Gov. Roy Cooper to extend Phase 2 of the state's reopening plan for another three weeks is a harsh reality for those who have loved ones in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

The decision prolongs extremely tough visitation restrictions at nursing homes in North Carolina. One location is trying to spread a ray of light with a simple act of lighting luminaries along a walkway.

Pruitt Health Carolina Point in Durham is one of many nursing homes and assisted living facilities that has been hit hard by COVID-19. In April, the company treated dozens of residents for the virus just in Orange County.

Just outside the facility is something that, hopefully, will brighten some people's days and provide a ray of hope that the coronavirus pandemic will be over with someday soon.

“The staff keeps coming back day after day giving us their love and care," said resident Cyndi Raper.

Raper has been in the facility for a year and a half. She said it's been tough because she hasn't been able to hug her husband or pet her dog, Bridget, in over three months. Now, that isolation away from family will last even longer.

She said prayer has kept her going.

“I immediately pray, and I think God I have this facility," Raper said. "I’m choked up and I don’t know why, I’m grateful I have the staff here they take wonderful care.”

Raper also spoke fondly about the staff inside the facility. According to Carolina Point, they’ve conducted 17,000 video chats on behalf of patients throughout the company’s system. It's a way to bridge the gap between those inside and family on the outside.

“They clean our clothes every day, they clean our rooms and bathrooms and showers everyday," Raper said. "I feel blessed to have this facility today.”

This gesture of prayer, songs and 800 luminaries outside comes as no surprise to Raper.

"They go out of their way to pray with us and give us words of encouragement, just to laugh and joke with them, that keeps our spirits up," Raper said.

Raper said the distance from family has been really hard, but the staff is constantly working on ways to keep morale up inside.

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