During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s so important for healthcare providers to stand in solidarity with each other, as many of us work tirelessly to provide the care so desperately needed at this time. Our organization has been recognizing the heroism of our own staff, who go into homes and facilities across North Carolina to care for populations that can include the senior population and those with conditions deemed high-risk with regard to the coronavirus.
Over the last week, we added a new twist on our gratitude tour, according to April Dederick of the HealthKeeperz marketing team. “In the last several days, our sales and marketing representatives have visited 75 care facilities and clinics to thank our community partners and healthcare heroes across 10 counties in southeastern NC.”
Dederick, along with Michele Morgan, Ponce Chavis, Tito Massol, Shaneese Brown, Jeff Hunt, and Otara Mills, have placed signs thanking our partners and recognizing the healthcare heroes we collaborate with every day to give our patients a better quality of life. The facilities visited by the team include skilled nursing facilities, health clinics, assisted living and retirement communities, and facilities specializing in memory care.
For Massol, the pandemic is bringing the healthcare provider community together in a very human way. “The story here is that people need people,” he said. “Social isolation isn’t healthy, especially for prolonged periods. We hope that these signs remind our friends in these facilities and communities that we care about them and miss our connection to each place during this time. We think of it as a big HealthKeeperz version of a Hallmark card!”
“We appreciate everything they are doing to take care of their residents and patients, and they are constantly in our thoughts and prayers,” Massol added. “Part of our mission, caring for all people for the glory of God means caring for our partners, too.”
A favorite song of mine these days has the following refrain.
Come all who are weary
Come all who are broken hearted
Oh come now to Jesus
Come and lay your burdens down.
“He Reigns, --GhostShip
This refrain resonates so deeply with me, because it points us to a source of peace and rest that we all need, whether we are weary now or will be later. Our hearts have been, are presently, and/or will be broken in the future.
And what we need is a friend. And when He says “come, take a load off,” can actually help us unload our burdens. One of the great truths of the gospel is that Jesus bears “away” our sin. Along with the penalty of sin, Jesus also bears its burden. Shame is cast away. Fruitless toil for acceptance by God is gone.
Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection we are accepted as sons and daughters by our Heavenly Father. We find ourselves empowered by the Holy Spirit to walk in strength, even though we may be experiencing weariness. Broken hearts can be healed and kept soft, that we might love again.
Oh, my friend, if you find yourself overcome with grief, then let me point you to THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT! Jesus knows deeply and intimately the ache of every tear that fills the eye. Yet, He says, “come to me.” When God promises comfort for the weary, it is not through the waving of magic wands or the snapping of fingers, but through faith. Yes, faith. Trust. Belief.
Do you believe God, when He says that your suffering and hurting is purposeful? Do you trust Jesus to provide the strength and comfort that you need? Will you remain faithful to God in deed and heart? My friend, Jesus is not just an ancient Jewish carpenter who drummed up a public following because He could relate with the plight of His kinsman and thus spoke words of hope. No, Jesus is THE HOPE, the great King of Heaven who reigns supreme over all. He is THE creator of all that is seen and unseen.
He fashioned our emotions and our psyche. He knows our hearts. And this is precisely how he knows what we need in difficult times. But Jesus doesn’t simply know in some theoretical, disconnected way. Jesus Himself left heaven to come and live the human experience as a man. He experienced true hunger, exhaustion, joy, excitement, sadness, joy, disappointment, and fulfillment as a human.
The only part of the human experience He did not taste was the taste of sin. He did everything perfectly: no bad words, bad attitude, or bad thoughts. Beloved, if you leave this devotion with one thought, know that Jesus has identified with our humanity in all its sufferings, so that we might identify with His perfections. There’s a day coming when we will never be weary or broken-hearted again, because the very presence of sin and its effects upon the world will be annihilated. But in the meantime, Jesus says “Come to me, today.” Jesus gives the peace and rest of heaven today, by faith. So I end where I began:
Come all who are weary
Come all who are broken hearted
Oh come now to Jesus
Come and lay your burdens down.
Yours in Christ,
Chaplain James Chavis
When deciding to become a nurse, doctor, or physical therapist, few people consider the possibility that they might have to work the frontlines of a global pandemic. And yet, that’s exactly what we see our healthcare professionals doing now: bravely putting themselves at risk to watch over the rest of us.
Neither the Hippocratic oath nor the Nightingale pledge say anything about working during a pandemic. Rather, doctors and nurses are guided by a strong moral compass that goes above and beyond what they pledge to do at the start of their careers. Healthcare professionals have within them a drive to help people, no matter how difficult or dangerous it becomes to do so. This isn’t something expected or required of them; it’s an innate quality that motivates doctors and nurses to help in times of crisis. Their drive is so strong that most would rather put themselves in grave danger than not practice their craft.
Saying thank you to our healthcare professionals is no small feat. After all, how can you adequately thank someone who’s quite literally saving the world? Even if our efforts to show gratitude fall short of their efforts to save lives, we can still try. Thanking doctors, nurses, and all physicians who are helping out during this time is the least we can do.
Thank you, healthcare professionals, for taking a risk every day by coming into work to help us. Thank you for doing your best to save lives, even as hospitals become overcrowded and your work gets harder to do. Thank you for watching over our seniors and folks with preexisting conditions. Thank you for helping our family members, friends, and loved ones.
Thank you for continuing to come to work as so many of us stay home and keep away from others to protect our health. You don’t have the same luxury, and for that reason, we all feel for you and for your families. We don’t expect you to put your health at risk for us, but you do anyway, and for that we are all deeply grateful.
Whatever you do, whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God
the Father through him.
At HealthKeeperz, our home health professionals are a part of something much larger: a mission to care for all for the glory of God. Throughout this time of uncertainty and upheaval, they continue to embody this idea in a bold and beautiful way. We’re so proud to call our doctors, nurses, PTs, and OTs part of the HealthKeeperz family. Their unwavering passion for providing care is incredible, and we can’t thank them enough for it.
Psychologists, writers, and even the World Health Organization have argued that the measures we’re taking to slow the spread of COVID-19 – “social distancing” – could more aptly be called physical distancing. That’s because of the multitude of digital communication tools at our disposal, which make it easy to connect with others no matter how far away they are.
Just because you can’t be physically there with your mom, dad, or best friend doesn’t mean that you can’t be with them in voice and spirit. Phone calls and text messages may not provide the same endorphin rush as a big hug, but they do give us the feelings of connectedness that we need as human beings. For today’s article, we wanted to share a few creative ways of staying connected with your loved ones during physical distancing.
Idea #1: Digital Movie Night
Grab the blankets and popcorn – it’s time for a virtual movie night! Use videoconferencing software like Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom to connect with a family member or friend. Then, choose a movie that you both have access to, through platforms like Netflix or on-demand cable rentals. To avoid bandwidth issues, use separate devices to talk with your loved one and stream the movie. Be sure to press play at the same time. And bam, you’re watching a movie together – even if you are miles apart.
Idea #2: Long-Distance Family Trivia
Create your own set of trivia questions using your computer or a pen and paper. To add a personal twist, you might make the questions related to your family history and happenings (i.e., “What line did Dad famously mess up in the wedding vows?”). Gather a group of extended family members across multiple households, and host everybody on a videoconferencing platform. Having some kind of activity, like a trivia game, to guide video calls makes for a more engaging and bonding experience. Let the games begin!
Idea #3: Old-Fashioned Love Notes
There’s nothing quite as touching as receiving a handwritten letter in the mail; it has a certain old-fashioned magic about it that beats receiving a text ten times over. Take a few minutes out of your day to handwrite messages of love and support to your friends and family. Writing these notes is just as therapeutic as receiving them, and you’ll immediately feel a little bit better about everything once you stamp and send off your letter. As an added bonus, snail mail is perfect for the people in your life who aren’t comfortable using text or email, or simply prefer not to. (We all know them. I’m looking at you, Uncle Al!)
Idea #4: Gift Giving
Lord knows our budgets are tight at the moment, so it’s probably not the best time to purchase expensive gifts for those you love. But it’s a great time to send small, symbolic, and preferably handmade items that will cheer up friends and family. For example, what grandparent doesn’t love getting a personalized drawing from their grandchild? If you have any healthcare, delivery, or grocery workers in your circle of family and friends, now is the time to show your support by sending small DIY care packages. It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on a gift; what matters is the love and care that it stands for. Right now, we could all use some of that.
Across the nation and the entire world, gyms and sports clubs are closing their doors in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. But does that mean we have to put a temporary stop to our fitness plans, or put physical health on the backburner? Not at all! There are still a number of ways to get the exercise that we need, now more than ever, for both our physical and mental health. Let’s discuss.
Indoors – YouTube fitness videos. Gone are the days when we had to pay for high-quality workout videos. Now, they’re available for free online with just a few clicks of your mouse. YouTube has expert fitness instructors who can teach you everything from at-home kickboxing to yoga to wheelchair-friendly workouts. Fitness Blender is a great place to start because it has workout videos for people at all different levels, from those who have never tried working out a day in their life to the total fitness junkies. They’re simple, easy-to-follow, no-nonsense workout videos. For yoga, which is a great fitness activity for keeping the mind and body healthy, Yoga with Adriene is an incredible free resource for experienced yogis and beginners alike. She offers many practices tailored to individual physical abilities, like wheelchair yoga and yoga for seniors.
Outdoors – Going for walks. Did you know that walking for just 20 minutes per day can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by eight percent? Walking is also a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get some fresh air after being cooped up in your house all day. Nearly all shelter-in-place orders include exceptions for walking, hiking, and other outdoor activities, so long as you maintain a distance of at least six feet from others. Take advantage of this by going for a stroll with your household members or your dog, or go by yourself and enjoy the peaceful solitude.
Indoors/Outdoors – Playing with kids (and grandkids). While having children and grandchildren stuck at home is certainly a challenge, it’s also an opportunity to strengthen your family relationships. What better way to bond with the kids in your household than by playing with them? Playing with kids will get you up and moving all around the house and backyard, whether it’s hide-and-seek, capture the flag, or duck duck goose. These games are a great way to increase your steps, and to tire kids out – remember, tired kids tend to be happier and more well-behaved.
Indoors – Cooking healthy meals together as a family. Many of us are paying more attention to eating healthy as a result of COVID-19 and in an effort to boost our immune systems. With everyone stuck at home together, it’s the perfect time to involve the whole family in cooking healthy meals and, in the process, teach children about nutrition. Cooking together is an excellent way to bond as a family, and after all, what kid doesn’t love playing in the kitchen? Easy-to-find, immune-boosting foods include oranges, lemons, limes, red bell peppers, broccoli, garlic, yogurt, and almonds.
The COVID-19 crisis is an unprecedented challenge for all of us, and it’s putting new strains on our mental health. After all, as humans, we are both highly social and highly anxious creatures. We’ve evolved to have these qualities because they help us survive – but they also make this time of social distancing, uncertainty, and fear extremely difficult. Nevertheless, it is possible to remain calm and maybe even happy during this period of global crisis. It requires taking an intentional and proactive approach to mental health, which we’ll discuss below in these tips for staying mentally healthy amid coronavirus.
Stick to a routine. Shelter-in-place orders, social distancing measures, and work-from-home requirements mean that we’re having to alter our daily routines significantly. But that doesn’t mean we have to let go of them entirely. In fact, doing so can lead us to feel disoriented, directionless, and unproductive. Sure, starting the day with two hours of Netflix may be fun for a day or two, but it soon starts to take a toll on mental health. Rather than giving into the tendency to shun routines in this time of vast change and uncertainty, create a new daily routine for yourself and/or your family, and stick to it. Following a routine is comforting and offers a sense of normalcy. It also boosts productivity and, when working from home, helps the day to feel more like a work day. With many of us having to balance work and watching children who are also stuck at home, it’s inevitable that our routines may change slightly from one day to the next – but having a basic pattern to follow each morning (i.e. wake up, eat breakfast, shower, get ready) is a fantastic way to set yourself up for a productive and relatively normal-feeling day.
Go outside. Many of us have been ordered to stay at home with the exception of essential travel, but most of these shelter-in-place orders include exceptions for outdoor activities like hiking so long as we maintain a safe distance from others (about six feet). Staying inside all day is a recipe for stir-craziness and claustrophobia. As often as possible, get outside, whether it’s by yourself or with others in your household. Play family games in the backyard. Walk the dog around the neighborhood. Go for a hike at a local nature trail. Enjoying the great outdoors makes us feel happier, offers a sense of freedom, and keeps cabin fever at bay – not to mention, it’s a great way to wear kids out and keep them happy. Just be sure to stay at least six feet away from others (excluding household members) at all times.
Minimize your exposure to news media. While it’s important to stay informed about things that affect our health and safety, checking the news every hour during a time like this can be detrimental to mental wellness. Realistically, you will be fine without knowing the number of new coronavirus cases or deaths in a certain country – in fact, you’ll probably be better off not knowing. Checking the news obsessively can lead to feelings of hopelessness, depression, and constant fear. Try a system where you and another adult in your household take turns checking the news once each day. This way, you’ll stay informed about any important updates in your area, but won’t become overloaded by doom and gloom.
Meditate. Despite common misconceptions, everyone is capable of meditating. It’s not easy and at times may feel uncomfortable, but it’s one of the best things we can do for our mental health. Meditation trains our brains to remain focused on the present moment rather than becoming lost in anxiety and fears about the future. Start by focusing on your breath for just five minutes a day – paying attention to the slow rise and fall of your inhale and exhale. Let it soothe you, like the sound of waves rising and falling in the ocean. Many people find it helpful to either begin or end their meditation practice by reading a calming passage from the Bible.
When anxiety was great within me
Your consolation brought me joy.