Bakersfield assisted living facility gets creative in helping seniors connect with loved ones


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Louise Lavin has been living at The Palms at San Lauren since it opened in May of last year, and this particular resident says she’s never seen anything like the last week.

“I’m very, very worried,” said Lavin.

Like many patients at senior living facilities across the county, Lavin says she lives in daily fear of the virus hitting their small community.

However, she also told us that the faculty is doing a remarkable job of employing safety techniques.

“It amazes me how much the people here are doing to make sure things get done,” said Lavin.

Except for people in extreme circumstances, there are still no visitors allowed. Many residents are still experiencing their connection to the outside worldcut off.

Therefore, administrators, Doug Rice and Ericka Aguirre thought of some creative ways to connect patients with their loved ones. 

“Some of our family members have come and looked through the windows of their apartment and waved,” said Rice. “They can also FaceTime.”

Aguirre expressed concern for the family members that need a certain level of comfort in this time of separation. 

“It gives them a chance to see their faces and interact and know they are okay,” said Aguirre. 

But, Lavin also knows that there are some seniors that are not as fortunate.

“I wonder about what’s going on with some of the people at other places,” said Lavin.

Furthermore, newlyweds like Joe and Lori Ayala, have been struggling with the commute.  

“I’ve been crying and I’ve been depressed,” said Ayala. 

After their whirlwind wedding last month at Kern River Transitional Care with Joe under hospice care, Lori says they have barely talked.

“I just want to be able to spend time with my husband and I don’t know how long he’s got to live,” said Ayala.

So, as our at-risk loved ones face this isolated and uncertain reality, the staff at The Palms at San Lauren says these seemingly small interactions can make a huge difference. 

“A couple of them have cried, and it made our staff cry as well,” said Aguirre. “They are just overjoyed.”

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