By Chevall Pryce Houston Chronicle
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Acorn Manor owner Priyanka Johri is behind the effort to get musicians to play music at the windows of the residents who are closed off from friends and family right now.
Residents at Acorn Manor Assisted Living in The Woodlands have been getting personal concerts performed from just outside their windows.
The pet-friendly assisted living facility closed to visitors in March due to the pandemic. The senior residents, who are more vulnerable to COVID-19, have been cut off from most in-person contact. They've maintained physical distance even from family members, who have kept in touch using Skype and Facetime.
Acorn Manor owner Priyanka Johri has been asking local performers to come by the facility and sing outside of the windows of individual residents. After the first time that musicians performed at Acorn Manor, residents could not stop talking about it, she said.
"It was supposed to be something to try out and see if it worked and they all loved it, so we brought (the performers) back," she said. "Everybody has their own private window so they were able to serenade each of the individually. They had songs to request, they would request musicians and songs."
The musical visits stemmed from Johri's efforts to keep residents entertained while physically separated from the outside world.
"I started asking my friends all over the country to start sending me pictures and painting and all those kinds of things," Johri said. "It started from there and then we started receiving paintings, sweaters, full scarves from all over."
Johri, a Spring-area entrepreneur and realtor with Woodlands Eco Realty, has been finding ways to help her community during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to serenading older adults, Johri donated time and resources to show appreciation for medical professionals on the front line.
While sitting at home in March, Johri said she could not help but think about her friends working in hospitals while the COVID-19 continued to spread around the Houston area.
"They said, 'We are right in front, we don't have a lot of PPE and we're expecting all of these people to show up,' and then it happened," Johri said.
"I was feeling very frustrated because I was in lockdown sitting there while my friends are out there exposing themselves to this virus and trying to help the community."
Johri began an initiative called "30 Days of Giving" on April 1, sending meals purchased from local restaurants to hospital staff in northwest Houston, including at Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital and Tomball Regional Medical Center.
Initially starting as a way to send food to her friends working in the hospitals, Johri began organizing meals to be delivered from local restaurants. She said the purchases were meant to help local businesses as well as doctors needing food in between shifts.
"It's my way of thanking them," Johri said.
Although the 30 Days of Giving ended on May 1, Johri and friends are still sending masks, coffee, snacks and supplies to hospitals.
Johri is already thinking of more ways in which she could meet needs in the community. In the future, she hopes to advise businesses on how to continue operating through COVID-19 by adjusting their business model or finding sources of aid.
Considering the emotional challenges nurses and doctors face when dealing directly with COVID-19 patients, Johri has also thought about doing guided meditation to help health care professionals in need of mental health support.
In the meantime, Johri is still delivering supplies to hospitals and working on ways to keep her residents entertained and socializing.
"I think we're going to be dealing with this COVID thing for a while," Johri said. "It's not going away soon."
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