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Creative Ways to Connect with Loved Ones at Clark During the COVID-19 Outbreak

It’s tough to think about your loved one being isolated at this time. Please rest assured that Clark is working hard to adapt our life-enrichment opportunities during this time. As we navigate the ever-changing dynamics of COVID-19, we continue to implement changes to ensure the safety of our residents and staff. All our departments have been working behind the scenes to develop creative and fun ways to keep residents engaged and to bring joy to their days.

What We’re Doing:

Spreading cheer

Every Tuesday and Friday afternoon, our staff delivers fresh-baked cookies to our residents. This time allows us to check in with our residents individually, help them feel supported and give them something positive to look forward to throughout the week.

Touching base

We understand how this is an isolating time and want to make our residents feel loved and still part of the Clark community. Our staff makes phone calls to residents to check in. During these calls, we take care of any needs they have and spend some time visiting to continue to foster community and human connection.

Franklin Community Channel 15

Channel 15 is our in-house television channel where residents stay updated with Clark news and happenings and enjoy regularly scheduled programming. We have added new programming, including exercise with Kensey, Stay at Home Bingo, UPBeat with Brian Pangle, spiritual programming throughout the week and additional rotating content (documentaries, travelogues and more).

What You Can Do:

Connect via video conferencing

Technology is more important than ever during this time. It’s the thing that is keeping us connected and supported. For Clark residents, Skype is a wonderful way for you to “see” their loved ones and we have several computers and phones available to assist with Skype visits. If you would like to arrange a video call please send a request to, include your phone number, name of your family member and their location within our community. Please understand Skype visits will be scheduled for specific times and are not available on demand.

Send a Letter to a Loved One or  “To a Friend Who’d Like Mail”

Writing and receiving letters on a frequent basis builds genuine human connection and helps with feelings of isolation. Take time to write regularly to your loved one at Clark. Our residents love receiving mail.

In addition, anyone can be a “penpal” with our residents. Kind folks in the community have been sending handwritten letters addressed as “To a Friend Who’d Like Mail” with sweet notes of support to Clark residents and the residents are absolutely loving it. If you’d like to send a letter “To a Friend Who’d Like Mail”, you can send it to:

To A Friend Who’d Like Mail
Clark Retirement Community
1551 Franklin Ave. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506

The safety of our residents and staff is our highest priority, so we are sanitizing and holding mail for at least 48 hours before delivering to any of our residents.

Make a poster/sign

Art and creativity are great ways to spread cheer. Work with your children or grandchildren to create a poster your loved one can hang in their room, on their door or on a window. Use vibrant colors and write encouraging messages and inspirational quotes to best lift spirits.

Send photos

Photos are one of the easiest ways to spark joy in your loved one’s life. Whether you send them digitally or through the mail, having pictures of loved ones is always comforting during stressful times. We recommend sending physical copies so our residents can hang them up.

Record a song for a remote sing along

If you share a special song, record yourself singing it to send to your loved one digitally. The sentiment can be a great source of comfort, as it is incredibly personal and intimate.

Clark is working hard with our residents, families and our staff to ensure that our residents still have access to the things they love the most: family, experiences and community. Connection is key during this particular time and we are doing all we can to make sure our residents are connected, supported and engaged.

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