ONEIDA – OneGroup employees showed up with brushes in hand this week at the Oneida Health Extended Care and Rehabilitation Center (ECF), ready to get to work breathing new life into two gazebos.
The volunteer effort was originally planned for earlier this month as part of OneGroup’s Day of Caring project, but it was scrapped. With the sun on their side, more than 15 OneGroup employees traveled to ECF on Tuesday to apply a fresh coat of stain to two gazebos that looked a little less good for dishwashing.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated how important it is to connect with loved ones face-to-face in a comfortable setting. Within walking distance of the ECF, the gazebos serve as outdoor visiting and social space for nursing home residents and patients.
Pandemic limitations prevented gazebos from being used for more than two years, officials said. At the same time, the maintenance of the works was abandoned.
Now, after a little refreshment, gazebos can finally be used as some restrictions have been lifted and warmer weather is coming.
Kate Trombley, Director of the Oneida Health Foundation, said, “Exciting projects like this have a long-lasting positive effect on ECF residents and rehabilitation patients.
“With stricter visiting policies and isolation due to their age and frailty, opportunities to spend time with others have been limited to nothing. Yet they are extremely important in meeting the psychosocial needs of people in rehabilitation or long-term care,” Trombley said.
“The realization of this project will offer residents an outdoor option to spend time with their loved ones,” added the director of the foundation.
Prior to the easing of restrictions, residents of the ECF used iPads for video or had “window visits” with an intercom to ensure that the elderly, frail and those at high risk of morbidity were less at risk. risk of contracting the virus, according to Oneida Health officials.
“[Oneida Health] is a wonderful organization, and anything we can do to provide help and support, we’re happy to do,” said Robin Lovitz, Vice President of OneGroup.
“Everyone is very excited to be here” to volunteer, she added.