Loved ones, community bridge gaps amid social distancing

By Angie Antonopoulos

For the last few weeks, Southside Indianapolis residents have made major adjustments to their lives, implementing social distancing measures to keep themselves and loved ones safe during the outbreak of COVID-19.

Sue Glover, who lives in American Senior Communities’ Rosegate – Assisted Living & Garden Homes in Franklin Township must follow community rules which restricts visitation to essential personnel. Nurses have helped her stay connected to family using technology such as FaceTime. “I’m tickled,” Glover said. “It’s great to find a way to see (my daughters).” When Kenny Rogers died, her daughter, Heidi called. “She a had a video for me, so I could hear ‘Islands in the Stream.’”

Dede Phillips, who lives in Greenwood, has three boys, a husband and her mom living under one roof. “We are really doing all we can to keep ourselves well, and especially mom, who is now 88 and has COPD and congestive heart failure,” Phillips said. “We really enjoy having her here and hope to keep ourselves and her as healthy as possible.”

Phillips’ mother has her own room, but also enjoys the patio with family from a distance. While her husband and oldest son work from home, she is concerned about her middle son’s potential exposure to COVID-19. “He installs overhead sprinkler systems for new businesses and is around a lot of different workers,” Phillips said.

Sue Glover and her daughter, Jenny Kern, who lives in California, is seen on the iPad. (Submitted photos)

Currently, she instructs him to remove his shoes and clothes and to put them in the washer and has him shower when he returns. Phillips also wipes doorknobs, faucets, light switches, remotes and countertops about three times a day.

Suzanne Carr, who lives with her husband, Steve and two teenagers, is firm about social distancing.

“We really have put the hammer down on interaction with people coming to the home,” Carr said. “Friends are not allowed to come into the house. My son has talked to neighbor boys his age in our driveway. My daughter will ride her bike.”

When it comes to schoolwork, Carr said her kids are well disciplined and work independently. “I wake them up to log in (for school) and they get their breakfast and start right away.”

Jake Hobson and his grandmother enjoy quality time on the patio, while keeping a safe distance.

June Renault, who is retired and lives in West Hill Valley in Perry Township tunes into church services and Emmanuel Church Banta Campus’ Women’s Group online. “We’ve been meeting on Zoom on Wednesday and Sunday nights,” Renault said. “We meet for about 40 minutes and discuss the sermon and say prayers.”

Thomas Vaughn, Southport Police Chief, banded support from community partners, including Midwest Food Bank, Perry Senior Services, Drink at the Well Ministries and volunteers, to help get food to seniors and those who might be immune compromised or have a disability.

“We wanted to do something,” Vaughn said. “Just a smile after you are done makes it worth it.”

Southside hospitals respond to ER care, COVID-19 cases

Southside hospitals are responding to the increased demand in caring for patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in a few ways. Johnson Memorial Health in Franklin separates patients with the virus from regular emergency room visitors by using its new emergency room, which is yet open to the public. This separation was critical, as a surge in COVID-19 cases came from the Otterbein Senior Living facility last week.  Franciscan Health implemented visitor restrictions and offers a free online risk assessment for COVID-19 free online risk assessment for COVID-19.  Community Health Network implemented visitor restrictions and encourages their regular patients to consult with their primary care physician, which can be completed by phone or video visits. Virtual visits are available 24/7 using the code HOME20 for one $20 visit.