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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update Learn More

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

Ways to Stay Connected to Seniors

Published in Senior Living, Senior Services, For the Health of It Author: Betsy Horsch, Therapeutic Recreation Supervisor, CentraCare – St. Cloud St. Benedict's Community

Nothing replaces hugging your loved one. FaceTime isn’t the same as a kiss on the cheek. A phone call can’t compete with the touch of a hand. But we can’t put our elderly loved ones at risk of getting COVID-19. So how can we make the holidays special from a physical distance?

Even though you can’t be there in person, you can call or do video calls. Play checkers or bingo over Zoom or use Google Hangouts for a sing-a-long. Start a virtual book club. Discuss the book and have a glass of wine.

For younger kids, the app Caribu lets grandparents read books to their grandkids as they follow along on a device. They also can color and draw together.

Everyone loves to get mail — that isn’t a bill or solicitation. Send a letter, a card or a small gift so your loved one knows you care.

If your loved one has a smartphone or tablet, you could share links for virtual tours. After you both have done a tour, you can discuss what you saw and learned. Many of the most popular tourist destinations in the world now offer virtual tours. Here are a few ideas:

Gift Ideas

  • Newspaper and magazine subscriptions (infection control prohibits sharing publications)
  • Gift certificates for salon services, coffee and gift shops
  • Grow kits: flowers, chia pets, herbs and spices
  • Make your own greeting card kits or boxed greeting cards and stamps
  • Arts and craft kits such as jewelry making or painting
  • Jigsaw puzzles: Companies such as Shutterfly can create puzzles using your photos
  • Handheld electronic games: slot machine, poker, Yahtzee or solitaire
  • Crossword puzzles, sudoku, word finds and adult coloring books with colored pencils and markers
  • Books by a favorite author
  • Daily devotional with inspirational quotes and prayers
  • Music or audiobooks
  • Tablet or smartphone
  • Framed family photos, albums or digital photo frames