Medicine for the Soul: Performer Entertains Nursing Home Residents in Quarantine

Tags: Currents Archdiocese of New York, Brooklyn, NY, Catholics, Catholics Care, Coronavirus, Entertainment, Faith, Family, Health, Health Care, Inspiration, Media, Nursing Home, Queens, NY, Senior Citizen, World News

By Jessica Easthope 

Carmel Richmond Nursing Home on Staten Island is just one of five ArchCare facilities in New York. The people who live there are especially at risk of contracting coronavirus, but during frightening and uncertain times, there was a moment of joy.

Russ Martone came to the rescue April 7, determined to lift spirits. He’s a regular performer at Carmel Richmond, and since he can’t go inside, he decided to take his act outdoors.

“I’ll try to get them all in the windows,” he explained. “They’ll be waving at you, you’ll wave at them and it was really fun. I didn’t get to see them all because of the glare, but I felt them.”

Russ entertained with some old classics as residents waved to him and danced in front of their windows.

“Priceless, it really is. I can’t describe it any other way,” he said.

It was a bit of relief for residents and staff at the facility, who have seen hundreds of coronavirus cases and even the death of an employee.

To better tackle the outbreak, ArchCare is adopting some crucial measures.

The facilities have started sending seniors back home to live with their families, saying they might be safer. They have banned visitors and quarantined residents in their rooms, handing out iPads and tablets so they can FaceTime with their loved ones. They have also stopped all of their volunteer programs

These steps seem to be working. According to executive staff, the rate of new positive cases is flattening.

But, the elderly population is not free and clear yet — data from the New York City Health Department shows the virus is hitting seniors harder than any other age group and

Deaths among people 75 and older are more than double that of people just ten years younger.

Though ArchCare is sending healthy residents home, Russ Martone is making sure those who stay know they’re not forgotten.

ArchCare has received several donations of personal protective equipment — including 1,500 surgical gowns just this week — but their plea is the same of all healthcare workers: more is needed.