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Open Letter to Nursing Homes during COVID-19

Dear Nursing Home Residents,

When I saw a photo of cheerful Heartis care home residents asking for pictures and letters, it tugged at my heart. I especially liked the little dog in the back, toward the center. I wanted to send my happy greetings. Additionally, I had the desire to send handmade cards, pictures, even posters, to all of our Arizona nursing homes during COVID-19. It’s no fun being isolated without visitors, and I respect our elders.

I thought about having our young karate students chip in on this project. We have demonstrated at one of our local nursing homes, and enjoyed it immensely. I wondered how many nursing homes we have in our state, or even just in our county. This was too big a job. Even sending one handmade card to one of our local nursing homes during COVID-19 at this time is not feasible for me.

What’s Going On Outside Nursing Homes During COVID-19

I, as many others are right now, am scrambling each day to try to navigate uncharted territory. We have to take more time shopping for essentials because many stores are out of the items we need. Not to mention many of us navigating starker budgets, which takes more time and thought than before.

We are also adding time in communicating with our close loved ones to make sure they are okay and getting their basic necessities. Parents with school-aged children are trying to figure out how to make sure their kids are keeping up with their schooling. And if they are lucky enough to be able to work from home, how to also make sure their own work is getting done in addition to taking the role of teacher.

We small business owners are trying to figure out how to keep afloat during this time of self-quarantining and recommendations from health officials. I’m doing my part by creating worksheets that our students and others can use at home to support a healthy lifestyle, like this one. And some are finding it necessary to take this time to go a completely different route and take on an extra job in addition to business responsibilities. And hopefully we are all taking at least a little time every day to make sure we breathe and relax! All of that simply makes it unlikely for us to send pictures and letters to nursing homes during COVID-19.

This is What I Hope For

I hope and I fantasize that there are some parents out there who have some time to spare and share to organize and supervise their kids making and sending pictures, letters and cards. As well, there may be adult or young adult creative types with a heart for our elders and time to act on it. Maybe there are even some people who are finding they have extra time to spare and share because of the season of this new virus. I do hope they are sending tangible symbols of our love and respect to all of the nursing homes during COVID-19.

Heartis Clear Lake residents in one of our nursing homes during COVID-10

And please know that all of this scrambling and rearranging and rethinking is done for you. We are doing these things so that we can protect you from this virus which seems to be more dangerous the older you are. We want you to be healthy and we want you to be around so that we can visit you after this season of the virus is over. Take heart and know that you are in our hearts, our thoughts and our prayers. We have not forgotten you – far from it – you are at the forefront of our minds in these days.


Jenifer Tull-Gauger 

Jenifer Tull-Gauger Kyoshi

Children's picture book author/illustrator. Traditional karate teacher and practitioner. Loves drawing and all kinds of art. Also into animals, plants and Mother Nature.

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