Local assisted living center works through pandemic to give residents holiday cheer

Bay County

LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB)– The pandemic has challenged many local families trying to plan holiday gatherings. It’s especially difficult for those with loved-ones in the at-risk populations.

Earlier this month, Beehive Homes of Lynn Haven received state guidelines suggesting it would be safe to allow residents to leave the home and spend the holidays with their families.

The CDC later issued conflicting guidelines, recommending vulnerable people should keep family contact to a minimum.

Ultimately, Beehive Homes Administrator Spencer Montgomery said the facility decided to follow the CDC’s guidelines, but are working to make the holiday season special for residents.

“We obviously do a pre-screening for everyone that comes in the door to make sure that they don’t have a temperature, and that they’ve not been in contact with anyone after that screening we will have a designated visitation room for the families so that they can have their privacy and take the time that they need,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery said they will also open their patio spaces to encourage outdoor visits and serve hot chocolate to families.

Though the facility has allowed limited visits from family members since August, the pandemic has posed a challenge for residents and even their caregivers.

“It was really hard on them, I’ve seen them with Alzheimer’s and dementia and they just didn’t understand why their families were not coming to see them,” said caregiver Julianne Mayo.

Mayo said she’s taken on even more of a role in her residents’ lives, keeping positive for them at all times as they work through the tough times together.

Beehive resident Glenna “Mutt” Chatwood celebrated her 95th birthday earlier this week.

Chatwood does not have any immediate family of her own, but said the staff has become her family.

“That’s the only family we know,” Chatwood said.

As for the pandemic, Chatwood said it has been challenging for her neighbors and staff who she said have taken it in stride, but Chatwood said it’s nothing she can’t handle.

“I keep busy, and I don’t let it get me down in the dumps,” Chatwood said.

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