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Shreveport assisted living center helps families stay connected


SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The coronavirus is especially dangerous for seniors, who are among those most at risk of fatal effects from the sickness sweeping the globe.

A Shreveport assisted living center is helping some of our most vulnerable neighbors navigate these unprecedented times.

Emma Tyndall is ready for the coronavirus to be cured.

“I’ll tell you one thing, I’m ready for it to end so we can get rid of these masks,” she said.

The 97-year-old says she was shocked when her family told her she was moving into Brookdale Shreveport, thinking it was a place just for old people.

“But, I’ve come to find out it’s not,” she said. “They’ll make young people out of you, if you keep up with them.”

Life for the domino player whose nickname is “Big Emma,” and all the residents of the facility, changed drastically this spring.

“I got a phone call early one morning saying our life in the community was about to change and that was a hard day,” said Mali Phares, executive director of the facility.

The pandemic is preventing loved ones from visiting family members inside the community to help prevent germs.

Tech tools are making it easier to stay in touch, but they can be a challenge for the more experienced generation.

“She doesn’t have a cell phone,” said Skip Tyndall of his mom, Emma. “That’s a little above her pay grade, as far as being able to operate it.”

But, staff members help the more than 70 residents stay connected with virtual visits and Facetime calls, as well as window visits.

“It’s not real easy to talk or visit by the window,” said Skip, “but we just make faces at each other and then I call her on the phone.”

A community of caring stepping in to spread smiles and keep resident spirits lifted with activities and snacks to navigate the tough times together.

“I’ve become their family,” said Rika Kibby-Lord, resident programs coordinator. “I love them so much. We talk, we laugh, we cry. And, it’s amazing. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

They say they will allow in-person visits as soon as it’s safe to do so, per government mandates. The residents range in age fro 80 to 100 years young.

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