crucible

Life inside senior care homes, after the coronavirus crucible

In the rooms, halls, and gathering spots of the Commonwealth’s senior care sites, the coronavirus took a particularly insidious hold in the spring and early summer. Rogerson House in Jamaica Plain had the state’s first known senior care fatality. At St. Chretienne Retirement Residence in Marlborough, 22 of 31 nuns contracted the coronavirus. Sickness spread and the residents were isolated from friends and family. Since those dark days, staff members have adjusted even the most basic of routines. Today, the way of life for residents has been transformed.

 Sisters Gloria Cote, 92, (left) and Jeanne Fregeau, 93, shared a laugh on the porch at St. Chretienne Retirement Residence. Both fell ill to COVID-19 during the April outbreak. Cote said, "I wasn't as sick as she was."  Fregeau said, " When I realized what it was I was afraid to die. Then I thought, 'the Lord will come and get me.' I worried about what would happen to Gloria. But I guess it wasn't time because he didn't come get me.''
Sisters Gloria Cote, 92, (left) and Jeanne Fregeau, 93, shared a laugh on the porch at St. Chretienne Retirement Residence. Both fell ill to COVID-19 during the April outbreak. Cote said, “I wasn’t as sick as she was.” Fregeau said, ” When I realized what it was I was afraid to die. Then I thought, ‘the Lord will come and get me.’ I worried about what would happen to Gloria. But I guess it wasn’t time because he didn’t come get me.”Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff
Sisters Fregeau (left) and Cote have been friends for 72 years.
Sisters Fregeau (left) and Cote have been friends for 72 years. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff
Sister Jeanne D'arc Poirier prepared for lunch at St. Chretienne Retirement Residence.
Sister Jeanne D’arc Poirier prepared for lunch at St. Chretienne Retirement Residence.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff
Resident George Brackett, 77, had his temperature checked by Stephanie Dupervil, a licensed practical nurse, in his room at Rogerson House in Jamaica Plain. Residents now have their temperature checked twice a day.
Resident George Brackett, 77, had his temperature checked by Stephanie Dupervil, a licensed practical nurse, in his room at Rogerson House in Jamaica Plain. Residents now have their temperature checked twice a day. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff
Sister Bernadetta Haviland wrote a thank you note in her room at St. Chretienne Retirement Residence. Haviland said she was one of the few residents who did not fall ill during the outbreak. "Thanks be to God. We've just been following the rules, we wash our hands, we stay apart and we wear masks," she said. The residents who were not infected pitched in to help the staff serve meals, wash sheets, and collect trash during the height of the crisis.
Sister Bernadetta Haviland wrote a thank you note in her room at St. Chretienne Retirement Residence. Haviland said she was one of the few residents who did not fall ill during the outbreak. “Thanks be to God. We’ve just been following the rules, we wash our hands, we stay apart and we wear masks,” she said. The
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