UTAH COUNTY, UT — Visitors are something Utah’s long-term care population has been waiting for since the start of the pandemic. After a year of isolation, one Utah County assisted living community is finally opening its doors to guests.
The Elk Ridge Assisted Living Center allowed KSL-TV cameras inside to capture the reunion over the weekend.
One resident, Ruth Sommers, 94, has been passing the time with coloring books.
“It’s relaxing, very relaxing, and the world is somewhere else,” she said with a laugh. “I’ve always liked to color, but I never knew I’d do this,” referring to the colorful pages she’s brought to life during her extended alone time.
But, with Sommers being one of the more than 365,000 Utahns fully vaccinated, she’s excited to welcome people back into her home.
“I’ve had two of them,” she said. “I’m done with those. I hardly knew I had them they went so smooth.”
And on Sunday, two of Sommers friends, Lisa Bradshaw and her two daughters, Abby Bradshaw Sudweeks and Carley Bradshaw, paid her a visit and played the residents some tunes.
“In the past, we’ve come a lot,” said Carley Bradshaw. “We wanted to come, but (with COVID), we haven’t been able to until now.”
Because up until now, visitors could only say hello through a glass window.
“It’s fun. It feels really good to be here,” said Carley.
However, Sommers left KSL-TV with one piece of advice for those going through hard times:
“Be yourself and that’s all we can do,” said Ruth. “You need to copy other people, but be what you feel inside.”
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