Bridges by EPOCH makes memorable wedding day for resident

NASHUA – Bridges by EPOCH Memory Care Assisted Living at Nashua, located at 575 Amherst St., recently turned a memorable moment into a lasting treasure for one of their residents.

Bridges by EPOCH Senior advisor Wendy Sage-Matsis and the team at Bridges learned that the daughter of one their residents, Lynn was getting married but she would be unable to attend the wedding.

“Lynn is non-verbal,” she said. “And her daughter was visiting about a week or two before the wedding and she had wanted her mom to be there but with the pandemic and rules, and the care that her mom requires, it wasn’t possible.”

Sage-Matsis and crew decided they wanted to do something to make Lynn and her daughter’s special day a memorable one.

“We wanted there to be time between the two of them,” she said. “And Lynn was 100 percent aware of what was happening.”

The team at Bridges pampered Lynn, just as the Mother of the Bride should.

“We probably spent a couple of hours on her manicure and make-up and hair,” Sage-Matsis shared. “And the minute she saw her daughter, because we brought her out of a room, there were tears in her eyes.

Lynn just walked towards her.”

The team also selected and wrapped gifts for Lynn to share with her daughter.

“We all just stepped away and let the moment happen,” Sage-Matsis said.

In the past and during a normal time, patients have been allowed to attend their family’s weddings but with COVID-19, the team decided they would bring a bit of the wedding to Lynn.

“Obviously, we’re in different times,” Sage-Matsis said. “We’re just trying to keep families connected. Just watching it all, I feel like we gave those two that cherished moment that especially her daughter will have.”

In addition to taking many pictures, the Bridges team videoed their special moment.

Of the unique moment, Sage-Matsis acknowledged that too often during these times, people don’t hear enough of the good news of people, like Lynn, who are living in assisted care.

“COVID-19 is isolating families,” she said. “Her daughter Kate had to go through all the protocol because we have to socially distance our families from our residents. They are not allowed to come into the resident neighborhoods and visit. We know that people cannot get the time back so we figured it out.”

The staff took every safety precaution they had to in order for Lynn’s daughter Kate to be able to have access to her mom.

Sage-Matsis added, “This pandemic has been so devasting for so many families. We weren’t going to let this one take the time away.”

Lynn and her daughter shared a beautiful dance and opened presents together. The team was also able to live stream the wedding so that Lynn could safely view it in real time. They compiled the video and photographs from the wedding day into a video for Lynn to enjoy whenever she would like.

The touching video can be viewed at www.vimeo.com/460963020.

“For those of us who have been in this industry, it’s been the hardest time of our careers,” Sage-Matsis said. “I think the hardest part has been not having our families here with our residents. This is a community, pre-pandemic, where you’d have eight, ten, twelve family members here for dinner. We’d have spouses spending the night. And all of a sudden March 12 came and we’re like, ‘You can’t do that anymore.'”

As Bridges closely adheres to all Department of Health and Human Services and state guidelines, they were happy to share this love story.

“We’re following everything that we need to do,” Sage-Matsis said. “But we’re humans. We’re already talking about the holidays. How are we going to make this work?”

Sage-Matsis hasn’t seen her own mother since January, not knowing that COVID-19 was just around the corner.

“She lives in Illinois,” she said. “How do you see each other without putting somebody at risk?”

For those living in assisted care, everyone knows that human contact is good for the soul.

“That’s why our team here has become so extra important,” Sage-Matsis said. “We’re providing the hand-holding. We’re supplying the hugs and the interaction that they’re longing for. And for Lynn, it was a labor of love.”