Elderly residents of Nazareth Home’s Highland and Clifton campuses are letting their creativity flow out into the community as a way of spreading hope during the pandemic.
The residents have been painting colorful “Scripture rocks” which are hidden around town and as far as Oldham and Meade counties for individuals to find.
“The whole goal was to put a smile on the face of our residents and remind the community that Nazareth Home is still active,” said Roberta Steutermann, development director of Nazareth Home.
They also see it as a chance to spread hope to others during the pandemic, she noted.
“One of our residents at Clifton said it was an ‘opportunity to provide God’s hope to the community,’ ” Steutermann said in a recent interview.
Steutermann, who joined the staff at Nazareth Home last summer, said she had a different perspective of life in the pandemic before meeting the residents. She said she was “humbled” by the way they handled the lockdown.
A year ago, visitation to long-term care facilities was restricted except in situations where sick residents needed special medical or emotional care. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid announced March 10 that visits to nursing homes may now resume with certain safety guidelines, such as face coverings.
“There’s an increasing sense of peace among them. They’ve had an attitude of ‘this too shall pass … it’s part of God’s plan and we’ll be okay,’ ” said Steuterman. “It has helped the staff to find peace and do what we do every day. It’s been remarkable how strong they are in their resolve for hope and peace.”
Now they are hoping to spread that hope and peace to others.
Nazareth Home is asking those who find the rocks to take a picture and post it on the home’s Facebook page.
Steutermann, said to the delight of the residents, they’ve heard back from a few individuals who’ve found rocks. A woman hiking on Buttermilk Falls Trail, near Brandenburg, Ky., came across a colorful rock left in a hollow of a tree trunk. A grandmother and her young grandson picked up a blue rock with the message ‘I’m praying for you!’ on the playground in Seneca Park.
“They are excited when the rocks are found,” Steutermann said. “We’re bringing smiles to the elders and people in the community.”
Steutermann said Nazareth Home has always been an active part of the Louisville community. Before the pandemic, Mass at the chapel on the Highlands campus was open to the community.
“They thought of us as their church. We hope to see that come back to life, but for now, this is what we can do. The residents want people to know they are still here and doing great,” she said. The project will continue through the month of March and residents hope to paint and scatter about 100 rocks.
The project has helped some discover their creativity but might have the added benefit of helping them through difficult times.
Lisa Stacy, who serves as activities director at Nazareth Home and came up with the project, said art can help individuals get through hard times. She uses art therapy in many of her activities at the home, she noted.
“Working with art helps,” said Stacy. “They’ve been stuck in their rooms and this is an opportunity to help them feel happiness. One resident said, it ‘made my heart warm to be able to do this.’ ”
In the future, Nazareth Home plans to use art therapy to help residents process what they’ve been through during the pandemic, said Steutermann.
If you find one of these rocks, post a photo to the Nazareth Home Facebook page — https://www.facebook.com/NazarethHomes — and tell the residents where you found it.