As Theodore Roosvelt said, “Failure is not falling down, but refusing to get back up”.
With the pandemic, our lives have been turned upside down. We have all faced unprecedented challenges, but what matters is how we continue to make the most of this situation. Tammy Smith, the Residence Service Coordinator at Parsonage Cottage, has truly shown how resilient she has been, working in a memory care residence during the pandemic. In this interview, we will find out the tips Tammy has learned throughout the pandemic on how she and her residents have stayed so positive throughout this time.
Like Tammy, as students, we have also had to adjust to this unsettling time. We have each developed different skills to adapt. We all must learn to stick together and support one another. It was truly inspiring and encouraging to hear about Tammy’s positive outlook on life despite the hardships she, and the rest of the world, have faced.
Q1: How has this pandemic changed you and/or the way you go about each day?
A1: “The pandemic changed me. It made me feel more grateful day by day for life. I lost a lot of friends during the pandemic. It just taught me to enjoy each day, one day at time”
Q2: What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced and how have you overcome them?
A2: “During the pandemic I lost some loved ones. I did a lot of praying and trying to keep everyone that I know and love safe, including the residents at Parsonage.”
Q3: What is the biggest takeaway you have learned from the pandemic?
A3: “Live life and love. Don’t sweat the small stuff and appreciate what you have since it can go so fast”
Q4: In what ways has Parsonage Cottage had to adapt as a result of the pandemic? How has this affected your residents?
A4: “We had to spend a lot of sleepless nights making sure each and every one of our residents stayed safe. We had to deal with a lot of families who wanted to see their loved ones. It was really hard trying to keep them patient and make them understand that seeing them in a few months is better than seeing them under the ground. We had to keep our staff safe and deal with depressed isolated residents. We tried to keep everybody’s morale up with activities and making jokes when we really did not feel like it. It was a depressing and sad time for everybody”
Q5: What advice would you give to families with loved ones who have been isolated this past year – to help ease the transition of moving forward?
A5: “Try to continue to love from afar. To continue to call your family or video them just so they can still feel they are part of you and you are in their life and you are in theirs. Just have patience! We had some families who did not call or zoom. We were pushing for them to do Zoom visits, some families would and some wouldn’t. Because our wonderful staff… They would be used to go to the hairdresser. We had a staff come in and do their hair for them to keep their morale up.”
From Tammy we learned that resilience is strength and perseverance. When things got hard at Parsonage, she found ways to keep the residents happy and make them feel comfortable during stressful times. Tammy’s positive mindset is refreshing during these trying times. Tammy reminds us to appreciate life in these uncertain times; we should always remember to find the joy in life. No matter what was thrown at Tammy, she was able to find solutions that improved the lives of the Parsonage Cottage residents. She is an inspiring, strong woman who has helped so many!