Students Band Together, a Hospice Shares COVID-19 Challenges, and a Creative 91st Birthday Celebration
LA VERNE, Calif.–High school senior Gabriel Abbes from Great Oak High School, located in Temecula, is making the best out of his quarantine experience by a single act of kindness for his elderly community.
Abbes contacted some of his senior classmates to create cards with a message of hope to senior citizens living at the Springs Healthcare Center.
“Our demographic kind of has a negative light because of the outliers that go out and they party during this time. We are in quarantine; we can’t do that, you know, we’re in a circumstance this time of age, we can’t experience those things even if it’s senior graduation,” Abbes told Scriberr News.
“So how can we have a good time and spread a good positive light in the same way I’d say we could translate it through cards we could translate through contacting people that need help right now.”
Residents at The Springs are self-quarantining at the center, which has resulted in a decrease in interactions with other people.
Abbes is aware that many people use technology to communicate with one another, but he thought a letter would be more significant and personal, he explained.
“This is a tough circumstance when you’re in those facilities to be closed off from the world in that circumstance,” Abbes said. “We’re home, we’re stuck as well for eight weeks, but it’s not the same.”
The letters will provide a general, concise, and friendly message of hope, Abbes explained.
“We thought if we send something heartwarming, it’s something that would kind of calm them down and send them something saying, ‘hey, look, we’re thinking of you, we’re giving you all of our interest, try to stay positive and everybody’s here for you, just know that millions of people are thinking about you,’” Abbes said.
Zoe Medranda is a senior from Great Oak High School, also participating in this act of kindness.
“To give hope, I think that’s important right now for them,” Medranda told Scriberr News. “Because like a lot of us are quarantining with our families, but they are stuck there by themselves.”
Medranda wrote motivational quotes within her letters, such as, “enjoy every sunrise and sunset because that’s life gifts that you don’t have to pay for.”
Abbes’ parents work at The Springs facility. His father is a physical therapy assistant, and his mother is a consultant, which is how the idea originated.
“I thought it would be nice to kind of take initiative, and kind of start a trend hopefully for our demographic to help out the elderly,” Abbes said.
He plans to hold onto the cards for a while, handling them with gloves to ensure the safety of the residents at the facility.
“When I found out that he was doing that, obviously I was very proud, and it makes me feel good that his heart is in the right place,” Gabriel’s father and physical therapy assistant at The Springs, Diego Abbes, told Sciberr News.
The facility has adjusted their way of treating their patients by reducing any congregation to adhere to social distancing measures. The facility has not had any cases of COVID-19.
“The residents understand that this is something beyond anything we can control, and they see what is happening to so many nursing homes,” Diego said.
Diego emphasizes the effort put into these nursing homes to maintain the safety and well-being of their residents.
“I don’t think nursing homes get enough credit. What you see on the news is negative, right? I have been doing this for 25 years, and I guarantee that most of the time, the heart is in the right place, things happen, accidents happen, but that does not mean nursing homes are bad,” Diego said.
Diego believes the letters his son and classmates are writing will make the residents at The Springs feel special and appreciated.
“Some of them do not have kids or some of them don’t have any loved ones, or they outlived everybody so for them to have somebody thinking of them at this moment, it just means the world you know, because they give them hope to go out later on and go back home,” Diego said.
Abbes plans on delivering the cards in about four weeks, hoping to brighten The Springs with positivity.
“If you have a pen and paper at home, write a letter. It doesn’t have to be a senior, but write a letter to someone who’s going through a hard time, during quarantine or even after quarantine, it is important to be kind to people,” Medranda said.
Julie’s in Home Care
Julie Martinez is the owner of a hospice, Julie’s In Home Care. Martinez has been in business for the past 25 years, providing palliative and hospice care to clients ranging from 70 to 103 years old. in the Beaumont, Banning, and Cabezon communities.
Due to the virus, Julie’s In Home Care has adjusted the way they take care of their clients to ensure their utmost safety.
Martinez has stressed to her employees not to go out because their clients are some of the most vulnerable due to underlying conditions such as diabetes, overweight, lung, and heart problems, she explained.
“We are geared up with gloves and our masks at all times, something I tell my caregivers, not to be out and about,” Martinez said. “One thing that I’m doing, I’m only providing one caregiver per assignment, unless it is hospice care or 24 hours care, I have to assign three different people but not all at once.”
Luckily, none of Martinez’s 20 clients have contracted the virus.
All clients have been isolated within their own homes and the only people they see are their caregivers. Martinez explains that she has noticed a change in attitude with her clients since the outbreak.
The clients seem a little depressed because they don’t get to go out or see anyone, Martinez explained.
“I have some that don’t have any interaction with their children since COVID-19 is now involved, now no one sees them for that reason,” Martinez said.
Martinez has been taking care of one woman, in particular, every day for the past three years. She cooks for her throughout the day and tries to spend as much time with her as she can because she is home alone the entire day.
“I treat her with the utmost respect as if she was my grandma,” Martinez said.
To not worry her, Martinez has been trying to remain calm and stay positive around her client.
“She likes to do crossword puzzles, so I will bring her some, and I have bought her CD’s of artists such as Ramon Ayala and Pepe Aguilar that she enjoys listening to as well,” Martinez said.
Martinez will do her laundry and go grocery shopping for her once a week, she explained.
“My goal is to protect my elders because this is my passion, I love what I do for a living, and I’ve been doing this for 25 years,” Martinez said. “So, I will do everything in my power to protect them and keep them safe in their own home.”
Long-time friendship and 91st Birthday Celebration
Every year on April 7, Lucy Cavazos has celebrated Margaret Jones’ birthday together for the past 20 years, but this year the coronavirus has threatened their 20-year tradition.
Jones currently lives in The Kensington Redondo Beach senior community, and this has made it difficult for Cavazos to visit her.
The two friends have been using a communication app called Slack to stay in touch. This is the closest interaction they’ve maintained since the outbreak.
“It was going to be the first time in 20 something years that I wasn’t going to be able to celebrate with her because of the coronavirus, and I was bummed,” Cavazos said. “That week has been very difficult because my mother shared the same birth week, my mother’s April 4th and Margaret’s April 7th.”
Cavazos’ mother always knew the relationship between Jones and Cavazos was something special, and Jones was like a second mother to her.
But Cavazos was determined to at least send her something to make her birthday special.
“She’s turning 91 so I’m just blessed to have her here, and I had to make her birthday something special,” Cavazos said.
The senior center and Cavazos were able to make arrangements to ensure that Jones was able to celebrate her birthday with one of her closest friends.
“We haven’t seen each other physically for over six weeks now, so any chance that they would give me to see her, especially on her birthday, I was going to take,” Cavazos said.
On April 7, Cavazos and her daughter were lifted by a piece of equipment typically used for construction workers to the second floor of the building, in front of Jones’ room and they celebrated her 91st birthday.
The two friends were able to speak to one another by using walkie-talkies, as well as sing happy birthday to Jones through the window of the second floor at Kensington Redondo Beach.
Jones’ room had pink and gold decoration as well as a cake previously purchased by Cavazos because she had already planned Jones’ birthday celebration.
Cavazos and Jones’ first met in 1994 when Cavazos began to rent an apartment from Jones. Since Jones did not drive, Cavazos began to drive her to places, and since then, the friendship continued to blossom throughout the years.
Jones’ eventually asked Cavazos to become the property manager of the apartment building she once lived in, and today Cavazos is still the property manager.
Cavazos considers Jones to be like a second mother with her children, even calling her grandma, she explained.
“It was proven to me by the Kensington that if there is a will, there’s a way to celebrate together,” Cavazos said. “Never take life for granted because nobody ever expected in a matter of days, that our lives would have completely changed.”