GOVERNMENT

A creative way you can honor our veterans in Utah nursing homes

May 19, 2020, 2:38 PM | Updated: 2:38 pm
veterans nursing homes utah...
Photo credit: Getty Images

SALT LAKE CITY – Veterans in nursing homes, over 400 of them in four different state-run nursing homes in Utah, may feel isolated after more than 10 weeks of pandemic-related social distancing. With Memorial Day nearly here, the people who run those facilities are looking for a creative way to honor these brave veterans. 

Happiness for Heroes

The Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs launched a program they call Happiness for Heroes. They spoke with KSL-TV about the program. 

“This is a way that we wanted to reach out to honor those veterans who live in our four homes, and reach to them because obviously they haven’t been able to be with their family members,” said Gary Harter, executive director of the Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs.

They are calling on all of us to send video messages of comfort, support, and appreciation to our veterans to let them know they are not alone. These video messages will go to the state’s nursing homes in Ogden, Salt Lake City, Payson, and Ivins. 

Messages are already coming in. 

The isolation and its challenges

Residents who depend on visitors for companionship may feel isolated in the midst of the pandemic. 

“Some come in every day to visit their loved ones. As of March 12, that’s all shut down,” said Jeff Hanson, deputy director of facilities for the Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs.

“It’s kind of a two-edged sword,” said Hanson. “We protect them, but then it challenges them socially not to have that interaction that they are used to having.”

Not only have the veterans not been able to have outside visitors, they have not been able to visit each other or have meals together. Caregivers at the homes are concerned about the emotional toll this isolation is taking on the veterans. 

When they do leave their rooms they must wear a mask and keep their distance from one another. 

“So, it’s been extremely challenging, and the beauty of this program is that it reconnects the veterans back with the community, which is good for their overall health,” Hanson said.

How to get involved

You can simply go to veterans.Utah.gov and upload a message to the veterans. You can get as creative or elaborate as you wish. The Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs encourages you to get your kids involved as well. You can also post with the hashtag #happinessforheros

The facilities plan to play the messages for the veterans as they come in.


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

Today’s Top Stories

Government

FILE - A Montana man was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot. (AP P...
The Associated Press

Montana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

A Montana man will spend three years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S Capitol.
1 day ago
Dozens of residents were displaced after fire at a low income apartment complex in Richfield, Utah....
Mark Jones

American Red Cross of Utah seeks volunteers in central Utah

The American Red Cross of Utah is seeking volunteers in central Utah after a fire in Richfield earlier this week displaced 35 families.
1 day ago
On Thanksgiving Day, Crave Cookies donated to the Utah County Jail and The Salvation Army hosted me...
Waverly Golden

Thanksgiving Day donations and volunteering

On Thanksgiving Day, Crave Cookies donated to the Utah County Jail and The Salvation Army hosted meal preparation and delivery to Utah families.
1 day ago
Gail Halvorsen, the Berlin Candy Bomber, poses for a photo in the backyard of his Provo home days b...
Waverly Golden

Utahn helps non-profit with modern day “Candy Bomber” operation

In memory of "The Candy Bomber," a fundraiser hopes to supply Christmas presents to refugee children in Berlin and Ukraine.
3 days ago
A duck swims in the pond at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. Photo credi...
Mark Jones

Pond at Liberty Park drained for necessary repairs

The pond at Liberty Park has been drained for needed repairs. It is expected repairs on the pond should be completed by the end of December.
4 days ago
FILE: Former President Donald Trump, seen here on May 28, filed his paperwork on November 15 establ...
ERIC TUCKER and MICHAEL BALSAMO Associated Press

Garland names special counsel to lead Trump-related probes

The special counsel announced on Friday will oversee the investigation into the presence of classified documents at former President Donald Trump's Florida estate.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
A creative way you can honor our veterans in Utah nursing homes