Wow! It has been a year since life at Immanuel Lutheran Communities—as in the rest of the world—changed due to COVID-19. Our community has faced some challenges, including illness among our residents and staff members, but we have faced these challenges together and with the support of our wonderful community of donors. As we begin to reopen parts of our campus and look toward the future, we would like to take a moment to thank all of the people who helped our residents and staff adapt to life in the pandemic.
First of all, we have benefited from the sewing skills of over 170 volunteers in the Flathead Valley and beyond. Last spring, when critical PPE like masks and medical gowns suddenly became both more necessary and harder to find than ever before, we issued a call for help. Our community responded with energy and generosity and in the past year these individuals have sewn over 1700 gowns and 1500 masks. We would like to expend special thanks to Cindy Riebe and Charline Payne, who organized these efforts and helped make sure our volunteers had the resources they needed. These volunteers’ dedication made an enormous difference in our ability to meet our PPE needs.
We are also grateful to all the donors who helped our residents stay remotely connected to their loved ones while we were closed to visitors due to the pandemic. Thanks to your generosity and grants from the state of Montana and several foundations, we were able to purchase several iPads, two additional iN2L (It’s Never Too Late) systems, and a connected theater system that will soon be installed in the Immanuel Skilled Care Center.
Taken together, these technologies provide residents with a range of options for communicating electronically with their loved ones. They can communicate via FaceTime in their rooms on an iPad or see a somewhat bigger screen on the mobile iN2L—a touchscreen the size of a small television. In coming months, they’ll have the opportunity to see their loved ones life-sized using the Connected Theater System. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that seniors are willing to embrace technology. Many residents have enjoyed these systems so much that they continue to use them even though they can now see visitors in person.
These are only two of the many projects our donors and volunteers have assisted with during this challenging time. Donor funds have also helped with projects ranging from infection control to building upgrades to support operational changes. We are so thankful for everything you’ve done in this past year and continue to do. You truly make a difference in the lives of Flathead Valley seniors.