Even during the pandemic Lake Elmo seniors, children find ways to socialize

Shortly after Wunder Years, a local daycare in Lake Elmo opened a few years ago, seniors living at Arbor Glen assisted living facility found a way to connect with the kids.

Resident Margo Schnieder said it is an enjoyable connection.

“They would come once a month, and we would do art; treats; we played games and we got to know of the children,” Schneider said. “That’s how we got to know everybody.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, residents could no longer leave the building, but they found a way to still connect such as sharing video messages back and forth between older adults and kids’ the children decorated the courtyard for Christmas and visited the patio to sing songs to the residents through the window along with sharing cards, drawings and crafts each week.

Resident Jackie Boorman has often connected with the kids. With the pandemic while she said it’s great to connect through Zoom, she is looking forward to the day when they can see the kids up close again.

“I can’t wait until this pandemic is over where you can actually touch somebody cause it’s really important,” Boorman said.

The kids call the pair Ms. Jackie and Ms. Margo

“Children, of all people, need love,” Schnieder said, “and who’s best to give love than grandmas and grandpas. That’s why it’s so important to both Jackie and I.”

Boorman is a pediatric nurse and explained that human touch is valuable.

“If you don’t touch an infant it will die,” Boorman said. “I mean actually die. So being personal with kids is super important.”

The residents have gotten used to being stuck inside the building all the time, but the children bring a bright light to their days.

“It’s like everything else, we don’t get to see our families,” Schnieder said. “We don’t really get to see the little ones, but we can read to them, and we can talk to them through the phones. It helps us and it helps them. So it’s a two-way street.”

Contact Matt DeBow at Matt.DeBow@apgecm.com

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