NORTHBROOK, Ill. (CBS) — Senior homes with high vaccination rates are taking baby steps back towards normalcy.
As CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas reported, residents at one Northbrook facility say they’re feeling more comfortable eating together – and some are seeing people they haven’t seen in months.READ MORE: Fire Department Investigates 2 Fires That Left People Dead Overnight
Barbara Burswold and Josephine Strong were not having any ordinary lunch between friends when we met them. It was a sigh of relief; a bite of normalcy.
“I’ve been eating pretty much in my apartment with my meals delivered,” Strong said.
“Do you think if not for that vaccine, would you have felt that level of comfort to be able to sit here with your friend?” McNicholas asked.
“No. Not at all.” Strong replied.
Burswold and Strong are both residents at Covenant Living of Northbrook – where the vast majority of residents got their second shot at least two weeks ago.
“Actually, the residents we didn’t have to convince them,” said associate executive director Michelle Pardun.
Pardun said Covenant Living expanded its dining room to 50 percent capacity this week.
Many residents are also feeling more comfortable leaving their rooms for social activities like group meditations.
“To see people even walking down the hall and to share a conversation with them – that’s just joy in my mind that I can reconnect with them, because I haven’t seen them in months.” Pardun said.READ MORE: At Bond Hearing For Man Authorities Say Was With Him, Prosecutors Say 13-Year-Old Adam Toledo Had Gun In Hand When He Was Fatally Shot By Police
Vaccinated or not, residents are still masking up.
“it’s not perfect yet – still cautious,” Strong said.
And Zoom visits are still a valuable tool.
But Burswold said last weekend, she saw a few family members in person for the first time in months.
“They felt comfortable enough and I felt comfortable enough having them, yeah,” Burswold said.
Burswold and Strong live in the residential facilities at Covenant Living of Northbrook. In the health care buildings, indoor visits are not allowed.
But since the health care buildings have not had any positive COVID cases in nearly a month, Pardun said they hope to allow some visitors there as well starting next week.
“And the family members just to see their loved ones again – it’s just exciting,” Pardun said.
Pardun said more than 95 percent of the residents are vaccinated. As for staff, about 60 percent are vaccinated.MORE NEWS: British Cooking School Life Kitchen Launches Cookbook For Those Who Have Lost Smell, Taste Due To COVID-19
Pardun said they have provided education on the vaccine and had their medical director talk to the staff and residents about the research that’s gone into the vaccine and its safety.