All bets are off when 99-year-old Laura Gutsche takes on her son Dwight in a game of cribbage.
“Oh yes, I play cards. I love playing cards,” Laura says.
When asked who’s the better cribbage player, Dwight jokes, “She cheats.”
The afternoon of fun at Good Samaritan Society – Fort Collins Village in Colorado has been a long time coming.
Residents were dealt a bad hand when the pandemic hit last year and CDC guidelines restricted in-person visitation.
“Well, it was kind of tough this last year because they couldn’t get to come to see me,” Laura says.
‘Proud of what they’ve done’
While it was hard, Dwight says the measures Society staff took were worth it. Not a single resident has had COVID-19 here. Now the Society is back open thanks to COVID-19 vaccines.
“I am very pleased. I’m very proud of what they’ve done,” Dwight says.
He applauds the location for its high vaccination rates: 95% of residents and 84% of staff received a vaccine.
“I was willing to do it because I knew that it would help me and everybody else,” Laura says.
Laura’s son and his wife have gotten the shot. So has Society administrator Kerry MacFarlane.
“Absolutely. I was the first one. I’m not joking. I was first in line. I made sure everyone knew I was going to be first in line,” MacFarlane says.
One-on-one conversations were key
MacFarlane was director of nursing when Fort Collins Village hosted clinics earlier this year. She’s getting the vaccine for her residents and her daughter who has an immune deficiency.
“You and I catch a cold and we have a cold. We catch COVID, we’re most likely not going to have any symptoms. Someone like my daughter, she catches it and she dies. For me, that’s why I do this,” MacFarlane says.
She says one-on-one conversations with staff to dispel myths made a big difference in the number of people signing up.
“Even if they say no after that, at least you know that you’ve given them information that’s not false,” MacFarlane says.
Because of these efforts, MacFarlane says families are getting back together safely at the Good Samaritan Society.
“When I watched my residents hug their families for the first time, as you can tell, it brings tears to my eyes. Human contact is a necessity of life. Being able to touch another human and love them, especially when it’s your child, your loved one, it’s part of who we are as humans. To watch people not have been able to do that for a long time and to bring it back, it makes your soul happy. It makes it sing,” MacFarlane says.
You can deal Laura in for many more card games to come.
“I have no worries about her,” Dwight says. “Her mother made it to 100. So Mom’s going to make it to 100 no problem.”
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