Knolls offers outdoor visits for families of residents


Janyce Isaacs, a resident of the Knolls of Oxford, views a goat through her window, part of a community-initiated project to visit and provide interest and entertainment for the at-risk population during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo provided by the Knolls of Oxford

By Emily Gentry

Even as the COVID-19 restrictions have started to lift for most, members of the at-risk community are still isolated.

Life within the Knolls of Oxford care facility has shifted from dining room conversations to scheduled Skype calls, but the staff has done their best to accommodate the individual needs of the residents and tries to keep morale high.

This past weekend, Father’s Day was celebrated by handing out goodie-bags to male residents and outdoor visitations for assisted living guests. “Although these past few months have been challenging, we aim to keep spirits high,” said Cheryl Hampton, marketing manager of The Knolls.

During these outdoor visitations, masks are required and a distance of 6 feet is maintained between residents and guests. Although independent living residents are permitted freedom to walk throughout the day, assisted living residents are only permitted walks with a staff member for safety reasons. The skilled nursing part of the facility does not allow residents to leave the facility, but does have a courtyard for essential outdoor time.

Sharon Lytle, an independent living resident, visited her family via an outdoor “porch” meeting this past weekend and although her Father’s Day was different from prior years, Lytle said she enjoyed seeing her parents in person and knows they’re in good hands. Lytle’s parents live in the assisted living section of The Knolls of Oxford and can see their daughter several times a week with these outdoor sessions. Lytle said that she used to drop by her parents’ on a daily basis but doesn’t see them as often, because of the restrictions prompted by the pandemic.

Despite socializing becoming more of a challenge within these communities, the staff still works to keep residents safe from the virus. Any gift or mail sent to The Knolls of Oxford is disinfected and held for a day.

Hampton explained the importance of maintaining a sense of community and remaining upbeat despite the  difficult times. “We’ve been doing well because everyone within the community is so loving and caring towards their neighbors and fellow residents,” she said. “People need people.” 

Hampton described the difficulties of the forced “non-social aspect” of the pandemic and how it can really take a toll on residents.