Platte County Legacy Home creates new activity for residents

WHEATLAND – Everyone is hoping for a new normal in 2021 with the discovery and administration of the COVID vaccine. 

Nursing homes and assisted care facilities were among the first to receive the vaccinations and according to Jodie Lauck, Platte County Legacy Home Administrator, the first doses of the vaccine was administered Jan. 27 and the second booster was administered last week.

“We’re not totally free and clear,” Lauck said. “What we’re hearing is we’re still going to have to wear surgical masks and that’s because it’s not completely known how it’s transmitted. For instance, if you are vaccinated, can you still transmit the virus.”

The nursing homes also have to be careful as not all visitors may have opted for the vaccination. The elderly have been quarantined through the holidays which made it hard for them and their families. The morale after almost a year has not been good according to Lauck.

“We have had to be in isolation,” Lauck said. “After tomorrow, if everybody is negative, we will be able to come out. It’s not great. Everyone’s happy to have their vaccinations but they still are in isolation.” 

The staff at Legacy Home is always coming up with fresh and new ideas to make it bearable for the residents. Nothing could be fresher than live plants that are donated and given to residents.

Anita Wieland, who is the wound care nurse at Platte County Legacy Home is also a plant guru and her thumbs are very green. She came up with the idea of donations of live plants to the residents and also possibly coming up with a monthly plant club. They all refer to Wieland as “the
plant lady.”

“I actually have a resident that has been in quarantine and has several very beautiful plants in her room,” Wieland said. “When we would talk and hang out, I noticed that she liked caring for her plants and that had a calming affect on her. So, I thought that I’d get her a couple of new ones and that might make the time in quarantine pass a little faster. So that’s kind of what started this.”

Wieland then went to a plants informational Facebook page which is called, “Oops I wet my plants” and asked friends, some who are in Platte County if they would be willing to donate plants. The response was overwhelming.

 “The plants were donated from many people right here in Wheatland and Guernsey,” Wieland said. “And then there were donations of sand and soil and pots. Ballpark, when we get ready to do this we will have about 100 plants. We are going to do an activity to actually plant the plants and then be able to take as many as they can from the activity.”

Although according to Wieland it is still in the works, what they would like to do is, once they come out of quarantine, they will have a socially distant planting day to pot their own plants into permanent pots that Wieland herself donated money for. There is also a group from Cheyenne that is donating some permanent pots.

“We are wanting to get into the activities room where they can actually transfer the donated plants into their own permanent pots,” she said. “Once all the pots get here, I will do inventory and then fill in what I need with the donated money.”

If anyone wants to donate money or plants or planting supplies, you can go the employee entrance in the back of Legacy Home and ask for Anita.

“My thoughts behind the plants were to find an organic way to help curb anxiety and depression,” she said. “And plants are really good for that. There is actual research that links the caring for plants to actually easing anxiety.”

Live plants are also known to take CO2 from the air and release oxygen, providing a healthier environment. 

So far there are Aloe plants, String of Pearls, Spider plants, Pothos and Rattlesnake plants just to name a few. The planting day is set to happen after the activities’ director returns from quarantine.

“Ideally, what I would like to do is set up a little planting station,” Wieland said. “The residents can rotate through and pick their plants. Based on their plant, it will then be determined as to what size pot they need and what kind of soil they need.”

Wieland said that the residents will actually get their hands dirty, repotting their own plant. She also mentioned that through the online traffic, someone went to and there will be shipments of soil and root hormones.

This idea has also been spreading to other nursing homes, Wieland said.

“Some of my friends all over the state of Wyoming are actually going to do something like this in their nursing homes that they work at,” she said.

It’s an idea that was planted in Platte County and can bloom all over the state.


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