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‘I love you… bring beer’: messages to loved ones from one Maine nursing home during coronavirus social distancing

Residents used white boards to send messages to their loved ones who couldn't visit because of coronavirus, COVID-19. The pictures were a huge hit on social media.

MILLINOCKET, Maine — When Kelly Ouellette saw scrolling through Pinterest recently, she came across an idea she knew her residents at Katahdin Health Care would love.

“I borrowed a whiteboard from one of the residents and started asking them what they wanted to tell their families,” during the coronavirus, COVID-19 lockdown, Ouellette said.

She says their faces instantly lit up. 

Soon she was writing messages like ‘I love you and I miss you’ or something with a little more zest like, ‘I love you and I miss you…bring beer’.

They took photos of each of the residents and posted them on their social media page. Unfortunately, it’s become one of the few ways residents can maintain contact with loved ones right now because of COVID19 or, the Coronavirus. 

COVID19 has forced nursing homes across the state to shut their doors to any visitors, ensuring Maine’s most vulnerable population remains free of the illness. Officials said Friday the first person in Maine to die of the virus was in his 80’s and lived in Cumberland County.

Ouellette says the temporary quarantine has taken its toll on the residents and their families.

“They can't see their family and there's so much they want to say to their family,” Ouellette said. “It's hard, it's hard for our residents, it's hard for the loved ones who can't come and see them every day.”

Social Distancing Video

That’s why Ouellette and colleague Jennifer Brown say these sweet notes from residents to their loved ones couldn’t have come at a better time.  

“It makes my heart feel good to know we're doing something that makes them happy.” Ouellette said.

“If we can make a difference everyday in our residents life than that’s what we are going to do.” Brown said.

Residents in return were surprised with messages from loved ones Friday night, watch the full video to hear what they said.

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