Tessera of Brandon has adapted excellently to the COVID-19 pandemic by keeping its residents socially distant yet connected and entertained.

In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tessera of Brandon adapted excellently by making sure that its residents are engaged more than ever and connecting with people outside it while everyone stays safe.

People want to check on their relatives like never before, and to help out and keep everyone distanced yet together, Tessera of Brandon created visitation stations where families can meet and talk with each other through a phone from opposite sides of a window. Since then, they’ve been used nonstop.

“Our residents are very understanding, the families are understanding. It’s nice that they can visit,” said Jill Andrews, director of community relations at Tessera of Brandon. “We’ve become experts at Skype and Zoom and FaceTime and Facebook Live and all of those things, and in the visitation stations we set up littles areas with couches and chairs and tables inside a window, and then we set up outdoor furniture outside the window for the family members.”

That’s just the beginning, as it has been organizing constant events and activities to keep its residents engaged. Tessera is using its iN2L program so local businesses—such as Zumba and yoga, a visit from the Weinermobile and much more—can work just outside its doors in the residents’ view. This also helps the local businesses that are struggling due to the quarantine, so everyone benefits.

Moreover, residents are still celebrating holidays; local businesses are connecting with the residents through letters and donating food and masks; they’re playing putt putt golf, bocce ball and giant chess; the list goes on. There’s plenty of things for the future as well, like Drum Magic visiting, scheduling sing-alongs and Bible study classes.

Residents are giving back to the community too, as they’ve made cards for graduates, made Easter eggs for kids of a local church, donated their cereal and made cards for Seeds of Hope and much more.

“We’ve had to get so creative, and our team here, instead of flipping into ‘Well, I guess we’re not gonna do that anymore more,’ instantly went into ‘OK, so what can we do and how could we change it up so that we could still do it or do it even better?’” said Andrews.

Visitors must set up appointments to use the visitation station. To learn more about Tessera of Brandon or set up an appointment, visit tesserabrandon.com or call 607-6880. It is located at 1320 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon.

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Taylor Wells
Taylor Wells is a relatively recently hired news reporter for the Osprey Observer, having been with the paper only since October 8, 2018. Aside from writing articles, he helps edit and upload them to the Osprey Observer site, and is always available to help other staff members in his spare time. He graduated from Saint Leo University with a bachelor’s degree in professional writing and lives in Valrico.