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Still time to show the love

Valentine’s Day was this Sunday and many looked for unique ways to share the love-filled holiday with loved ones in the age of pandemic.

Resident Ora Payne, a resident at Our House here in Austin, shows off a card and goodies she received recently as part of the facilities’ Share The Love Mailboxes. Photo provided

Count Our House facilities, in Austin, was some of those  groups and they are still encouraging people to drop off valentines for their residents by inviting members of the community and from the area to help share the love.

According to Life Enrichment Coordinator Baillie Klingfus, Our House is asking the public to drop off valentines for its residents in Share The Love Mailboxes at Memory Care 20 and Assisted Apartments. People can do this through today, but way before Valentine’s Day the caring was been evident.

Deliveries were made throughout the week and staff immediately began handing them out to appreciative residents.

Resident Care Assistant Carolyn Hagen shows off one of the mailboxes. Photo provided

“As I was dropping them off, people were going ‘that’s so sweet’ or ‘that was adorable,’” Klingfus said. “A little boy dropped off cards and signed all of the cards. I thought that was really cute. We actually have had drop-offs of goodie bags with candy and cards for the residents.”

Initially, Our House in Austin was going to follow the lead of Our House sites in Wisconsin that would have included flower arrangements and even a chance to adopt a resident, but with the pandemic, organizers here in Austin thought it might be too much of a hassle given restrictions.

That left the door open for the community to offer a personalized touch in the form of handcrafted valentines.

Resident Dawn Buxton poses with her valentine and treat. Photos provided

During the Christmas season, Our House did something similar, where the facilities decked the halls with the help of holiday poster arrangements dropped off by families.

Even though families continue to face restrictions when it comes to seeing residents, this kind of personalization delivers a longed-for interaction.

“It’s nice,” Klingfus said. “A lot of them are just sitting in the room watching the news. We can still come out and do things like we did before COVID.”

There’s another benefit to this kind of activity. While it serves as a chance to lift the spirits of residents, it’s also been good for staff.

“It’s actually helped the staff a lot,” Klingfus said. “They are here and at work, but all three of our buildings are our families. We know the residents and they know who we are.”

“It puts everybody in a good mood,” Klingfus continued. “That we can get through this. Get back to normal and see the residents smile. That’s a chain reaction.”

Where to drop off

Our House

Memory Care 20

204 14th St NW

Austin, MN 55912

Our House Assisted Apartments

1313 15th Ave NW

Austin, MN 55913