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Pictured are Tenli Bellard, Lily Courville, and Landon Prudhomme as they draw on cement with chalk while schools are closed because of the coronavirus. (Photo submitted)

Beating the COVID-19 blues

How locals keep busy during while staying at home during virus

Unlike the days of the flu pandemic of 1918, today’s society has the benefit of technology to aid in equal parts of distraction and learning. There are popular apps for smart phones and tablets which make being home-bound more bearable. Even without technology, the old-fashioned ways still hold up today. All around the world, people are finding ways to keep busy in the days of COVID-19.
Evangeline Parish resident Monette Richardson said she and her children, Caroline and Sam, and husband, Dwayne, have been keeping busy by playing board games at night and having family movie nights, fishing, walking/exercising, praying, holding a family Wii game tournament, and doing yard work. She said the Stay-At-Home order has actually enriched their lives. “We’ve prayed more than ever at different times of the day. We’ve spent quality time as a family without daily interruptions of our normally busy life. We’ve actually sat down several nights in a row without phones and games and watched movies together and laughed together. The kids are now asking when do we pray today and what are we watching tonight. It’s definitely brought us closer in a way we took for granted before.”
Ville Platte native Gretchen Frith LaJaunie is currently out of work due to the pandemic. Her husband Jeff, however, is an essential worker who has to travel. Unable to find face masks which are in short supply, she has started making them. “I make the masks for Jeff and any of his coworkers who might need them and I made some for friends. I have one for me, too. Because I don’t have a sewing machine it takes longer to do it by hand.” Aside from making masks, she is excited to start a garden at her new home. Her father-in-law tilled part of her back yard for a garden. “I’m going to be planting tomatoes, cucumbers, and banana peppers, bell peppers, and carrots,” said LaJaunie. “My dad always had a garden, and my uncle and grandfathers as well.”
Area nursing homes are helping their residents stay busy with plenty of activities, which also helps ease the isolation of not being able to see their families due to the lock-downs of nursing homes around the country. Pat Duplechin, Activity President of Region 3 and State Secretary of Regional Activity Directors, said at Heritage Manor they are “going from room to room, having one-on-one visits. We play Bingo from the doorways. We’re playing ball, throwing it down the hall. We have a book-mobile and arts and crafts.” Duplechin said they are also utilizing their on-site beauty shop. “Every Monday we take the residents one-on-one. All of our ladies have their hair washed and fixed for them to brighten their spirits. Monday afternoon we do manicures.” The staff also provide religious CDs and Bible narrations for spiritual needs. Families are still allowed to visit their loved ones, but they do it on the other side of a window for protection.
Prairie Manor Nursing Home said they are “Doing activities as directed by the CDC and CMS and LDH, following specific guidelines,” but would not say what activities they have for residents.
Renasha Jack, activities director at Savoy Care Center, said, “We have a lot going on. We’ve been doing hallway bingo and patio bingo with the residents at least six feet apart.” They also have a Happy Hour cart with wine or virgin daiquiris or beer. They have manicures on wheels, with a cart going room-to-room. There is also a Bored Board on the wall where residents can go one at a time to pick up a crossword puzzle or coloring page or sudoku puzzle. They also have window visits with the loved ones and also provide Skype calling throughout the day with the families. “We haven’t had anyone get depressed about not going out,” said Jack. Savoy Care Center also has a Facebook page where they post updates.

Evangeline Today

145 Court St.
Ville Platte, LA 70586
Phone: 337-363-3939
Fax: 337-363-2841