Retirement residents using different resources to reach family members

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW)-- Anyone can tell that Abby Ruppel has a special relationship with her grandmother.

"My grandparents grew up in Rhinelander and I've never dreamed of living in the same city as them. So now that she does live here it is just such a joy I just love it," Ruppel said.

With social distancing mandates given by the Primrose retirement community, Abby is unable to have face to face contact with her grandmother.

"It's a bummer for us but we definitely respect what they're doing trying to protect the residents ultimately there is so many other people in health care that are making far larger sacrifices that we are grateful for," Ruppel added.

Through the tough change, Primrose management encourages reaching out to family members with other means of communication.

"It's been really neat to see the different modes of communication that we've been able to help support for our residents and watch the families be able to continue to connect with them," Primrose regional sales and marketing manager Nicki Courtright explained.

One of the ways that Abbey connects with her grandmother is through the use of an iPad, which is not the easiest to teach considering the circumstances.

"It's hilarious trying to teach a 92-year-old to use an iPad is funny in general, but through a window? That's a comedy show," Ruppel joked.

For some families, there's a fear that the last time they see a family member will be through a window, but Abby and her grandmother don't share that fear.

"We do have peace about it. I know that not everyone believes in a higher power, but me and my grandmother do. Our faith is what holds us together and so if I never get to hold her hand again it'll be ok. I know where she'll send her eternity and I'm thankful for that faith," Ruppel explained.