Together, Apart at the Witherell

Visitors and volunteers are a big part of life at the Witherell. Since we’ve had to restrict both during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve gotten creative. The good news is that our therapeutic recreation staff, social workers and chaplaincy have risen to the occasion.  We’ve implemented many unique opportunities to offer (safe) interaction and activity for all of our residents.

“Residents receive supportive one-on-one visits in their rooms, and also have access to individual art materials and puzzles,” explains Carisa Ronish, therapeutic recreation administrator. “We also do hallway Bingo and offer afternoon ice cream. We’ve been able to celebrate birthdays with balloons and cards, too. And last weekend, we were able to deliver Easter chocolates for all to enjoy.”

Beyond recreation, our social workers and chaplains have been reaching out to residents and their families to offer support. “For our residents, we check in regularly to alleviate any stress or anxiety,” says Justine Vaccaro, LMSW, director of social work “We’re also reaching out to our residents’ families. It’s difficult not being able to visit with their loved ones, so we try to offer reassurance and lend support.”

Taking care of our healthcare teams on the front lines is important, too. With the Witherell Café closed, the Friends of Nathaniel Witherell recently sponsored a luncheon for our staff, and is working with donors to underwrite luncheons in the future. A special bulletin board was created to offer inspirational images for staff.

Witherell volunteers have also found important ways to help out. Sally Van Leeuwen, Sara Erickson and Troudy Gouse mobilized a team of seamstresses to create masks, and, with the help of Jeff Fiddleman, we’ve launched The Witherell Channel on You Tube. It features musical performances, messages of support, and even Chaplain Tony juggling. Check it out here!

If you’d like to send a video or message of support to the Witherell, email it to: Mary Tate at [email protected]. If you’d like to support our Resident Life Fund, make your tax-deductible donation here:



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