Keep loved ones safe this Thanksgiving


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Residents in the Good Samaritan Society Village won’t be allowed visitors this Thanksgiving, but some are making new traditions… and celebrating the little things.

For Pattie Fitzpatrick the Thanksgiving holiday usually includes a big celebration with family.
But since moving into Good Samaritan Society Village last fall, and with COVID-19, this year will look different.

“Window visits, FaceTiming with the family, phone calls. We’ll still be connected, just not in our, the way we’re used to,” Fitzpatrick said.

Those new, and safe visits are exactly how Dr. Gregory Johnson recommends people celebrate the holidays this year.

“I just don’t think it’s even tenable, to look at this holiday season and think that it’s, it’s gonna look very similar to our normal traditions,” Dr. Gregory Johnson said.

He says it’s crucial to continue COVID-19 safety precautions even during the holidays to keep loved ones safe.

“I think we just need to be very intentional, in this season when tradition and routine would probably drive us to let our guard down. This isn’t the time to do that with an end in sight,” Johnson said.

Along with virtual visits, Fitzpatrick and her 95 year old mother who lives with her, will be receiving more than just virtual visits this year. A new tradition has been started by a family member to keep close, while staying apart.

“She is going to set up a letter writing stations so that everybody has an opportunity to write a note to either me or to grandma. And, just whatever, hi grandma, I love you. Or a little longer note,” Fitzpatrick said.

The family residents will be able to see in person this year isn’t technically family at all.
But family is exactly how Alecia O’Neill describes the relationship between staff and residents.

“With COVID-19 and knowing that, while we’re able to go home, our residents aren’t and so how can we connect with them when we’re here, share what’s going on with our lives, become their family,” O’Neill said.

And while window visits aren’t the norm, they leave behind new and lasting memories.

“We’ve told all the maintenance people here, please don’t wash our windows because all those fingerprints and smudges are from window kisses and don’t wipe them away. We look at those and it reminds us of all of those who came to visit,” Fitzpatrick said.

O’Neill says family and people in the community can also send a note to staff or residents at Good Samaritan Society.

To do so, click here.

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