YAKIMA, WA- Living Care Retirement Community in Yakima is the only long term care facility without any COVID-19 cases. Now although stay at home orders have been lifted for some seniors the isolation can cause a lot of emotional stress. 

The Director of Resident Services, Eva Lounsbury said “You cannot underestimate the emotional stress that is on someone being separated from their family.

She added “We have residents who have recently lost spouses or family members and they hadn't had an opportunity to see those family members because of the virus.”

In order for residents to communicate with friends and family they built what they call “The Chatterbox.”

The Chatterbox is an enclosed room with plexiglass windows, this allows residents to safely talk face to face with friends and family. 

Living Care resident Ruth Hessey said “I miss the fact that they can't come over to my apartment cause we sit down and visit and so this is a gap in between.”

During a time when Yakima is considered a hot-spot for COVID-19, the Chatterbox creates a safe space for in person interactions.

One of the first visitors said “This is such a good thing and I can feel safe visiting with her [Ruth]. I feel like I can keep her safe and she can keep me safe,” Sheila Berman.

Hessey says many neighbors have family in Yakima they frequently communicate with but in her case it’s the only way she can see her friends.

“A lot of them have family right here in Yakima. So the family is in touch with groceries or whatever I don't have that option. So my friends are my option,” said Hessey. 

To use the Chatterbox Living Care residents can make an appointment online or by phone at 509-966-6240. 

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