Virtual togetherness

Client and staff chat it up via video conference

Like so many of us, May Zalkin hasn’t been able to do much outside her home for weeks. No shopping trips to Fred Meyer or Walmart. No Starbucks.

“I’ve been trying to keep busy, knitting, painting,” May said.

And no visits to Full Life Care’s Adult Day Health Center in Everett, where she has friends, and staff who dote on her.

“I miss them,” May said.

May Zalkin, top left, chats with FLC Case Manager Melissa Cass and Registered Occupational Therapist Carol Potter Tuesday, May 28.

But on Tuesday, May got a big surprise. With help from a friend, May got to actually see and talk with Full Life Case Manager Melissa Cass and Registered Occupational Therapist Carol Potter.

Video conferencing. In these times of quarantine, it’s a beautiful thing.

“Very unusual to see those pictures,” May said later, laughing. “It was so good to see them again.”

Full Life’s Adult Day Health Centers have been closed since March 3, and clients like May have had to adjust with telephone visits so staff can check their well-being. Tuesday’s video conference call was a first.

“Her face just lit up and you could hear the excitement in her voice when she said, ‘Hi, Melissa; good to see you,’ when I appeared on the screen,” said Melissa. “It was truly the highlight of my day!”

During the visit Melissa and Carol chatted with May about how she was spending her time and to remind her about exercise and staying healthy. And May got to tell them how she spent her 76th birthday last Sunday.

“We had Chinese take-out,” May said. “And chocolate cake (her caregivers) made for me.”

Of course, everyone wishes they could be with each other in person. But Carol and Melissa both say video conferencing shows promise as a viable alternative with at least some of their clients.

“I can’t wait to share more of these impactful and meaningful experiences with our clients,” Melissa said. “Sure, it’s a different feel than face to face interactions. But we’re making it work for us by getting to participate in each other’s lives in ways that we may not have been able to before now.”

Full Life Care supporters like you help us remain innovative and responsive in the ongoing health emergency. We can do this work because we have partners like you who invest in positive and effective solutions. We need your continued support to keep going. And a great opportunity is coming.

On May 5-6, thousands of people are going to show their support for their favorite Washington nonprofits during GiveBIG. COVID-19 has presented us with some of the most challenging circumstances in our history. Yet, we are here every day and our staff is working tirelessly to make sure that our clients are safe, fed and receive all the care they need.

Early giving is already open. If you can, donate now, or wait until GiveBIG officially opens on May 5.