Katelyn Sloan, our Director of Marketing, sat down with Debbie, who's mother has been a part of Insight's early stage Reconnections program for a little over two years to chat about the shift to virtual programs, ways it works for both her and her mom, and how the program has become "our people!"
Katelyn: I’m sitting here with Debbie, who’s mom, Jeanette, has been in our Reconnections program and a part of our Insight family for a little over 2 years. Jeanette and Debbie have both been a part of our Reconnections program during the closure due to COVID-19 this spring, and have been a part of the virtual program we’re still offering now. Debbie, I want to ask you how has the program been a part of your lives during this pandemic, and how has it been there for you?
Debbie: The virtual program has just been great. When the pandemic hit, and Insight was forced to close for the health and safety of everyone, it left a void in our lives because it has become such an everyday part of our life, seeing the participants, seeing the employees, that it was just like you woke up and we were in abnormal times not knowing what to do. So when the virtual program launched, mom was like “Oh, my group! My group is on the computer! I can see my friends!” It’s really just been something that has added to her life on a daily basis – making her happier, which makes me happier. It’s a sense of normalcy in abnormal times.
Katelyn: The program really has connected everyone. The biggest surprise for all of us was how effective virtual programs would be – that people would be able to recognize one another, and would still feel that social connection. Although not the same, but still have that consistency and that connection to people in the group.
Debbie: Absolutely. Mom constantly is like, “Look, there’s Cheryl, I know this woman.” You know, and they know each other, they recognize each other, and they’re a part of each other’s lives. And it’s been wonderful. Not only does the program go for the time that you’re virtually on, you guys send such wonderful activities to do. The activities end up - you can’t go over the whole activity while you’re on virtually - so it’s just other stuff that helps support me to do things with mom during the day. Other programs, whether it’s a program that Insight is running virtually, or Insight finds out about that some other organization is running, they share that information and it helps enrich life. We’re not just sitting here in a pandemic enclosed in a house with no routine and no normalcy.
Katelyn: What would you say is your mom’s favorite part about the program?
Debbie: I think it’s the people and feeling connected. Really, being a part of the Reconnections program, that’s like hers. She’s like, that’s my group. That’s my center. It’s her people.
Katelyn: Her people.
Debbie: It’s her people and it’s really turned into our people because getting to do this online with her – you know, doing it in-person you got to know people, but you get to know people online as well, and the caregivers tend to be right there with the participants, and it’s just a wonderful program. And in these times when you don’t want to take people out, what do you do all day long? So it’s really been – in my mother’s words, it’s a godsend.
Katelyn: She is the sweetest. And Reconnections is going to be running virtually, and we’re going to continue this program for anyone that is interested. Debbie and Jeanette are beloved members of our community, and it’s our hope that anyone that could benefit from this program can, and will. Thank you Debbie, I really appreciate you.
Debbie: Thank you, and thanks to everyone at Insight and Reconnections. I don’t know what we would have done if we hadn’t joined the Reconnections program.
Katelyn: Well we love you both.
Debbie: Thanks, love you too, and we can’t wait until we can all be together again. But at least we have virtual for now!