The impact of the novel Corona virus on the United States and around the world has shattered conventional wisdom and, in its wake, has shattered the lives of millions of people, their families, and communities. The pandemic has not only altered the state of our lives, but, to a greater extent, redefined the way in which we live, interact with others and has inhibited progress through restrictive measures intended to slow the spread of infection.

Massachusetts has been no exception in this approach. Over the past several months,  measures were taken, including, but not limited to, the closure of Halcyon Day Program that provides day rehabilitation services, as well as employment/vocational and community day support services to individuals with developmental and intellectual challenges across the region. In addition, Behavioral Associates of Massachusetts (BEHMA), at its core, provides residential services and support structure for many individuals.

In addition to community integration, visits from loved ones to the individual’s home and community outings with them for recreational and leisure activities are always looked forward to with much anticipation. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has disrupted this reassuring activity. In order to provide individuals a similar sense of comfort to that of an in-home visit, a variety of alternatives have been provided by BEHMA.

One of these options is for individuals and parents to maintain weekly scheduled visits out in the community. Recently though, there was a snag in accommodating a structured routine visit by one of the resident’s mother. Given the intimate bond which the two share, the Halcyon team wanted to ensure that there was a way for these two to connect. After strategic brainstorming, staff formulated a solution that was mutually accommodating. A visit to the Cape for all the residents was scheduled, where his mother has a cottage.  This trip would be appealing for all the residents and more specifically, would act as a reunion for this resident and his mother.

The Halcyon team arranged the visit in collaboration with his mother and provided logistics to ensure a safe, healthy and crisis neutral visit. On Saturday, October 17, 2020, a rather brisk but sunny gorgeous morning, the residents and staff set out to visit the breathtaking natural beauty of the Cape and its magnificent cottages complimented by the surrounding landscape of water ways, bike paths and walking trails. The allure of nature and the curiosity of summer site see-ers and vacationers is the perfect representation of an American escape.

The first stop was one of priority. The group dropped off Michael to his mother, who was ecstatic, emotional, and gracious since she had not seen him for the past seven months. They immediately bonded, as Michael was assisted by staff into her cottage. Next, the rest of the group went out on a walking trail to let out steam and embrace nature at its best. Surrounded by nature’s beauty and mysteries, they mustered and exhausted their might and more. Prior to returning home, as is customary and a rite of passage, the group shopped at local stores to purchase souvenirs and also had a late lunch. They then picked up Michael, who was beaming with a huge smile and was filled with elation. They quietly began the journey home as a group, with a lifetime of memories etched in their minds. It was a day of emotional re-connection and joy that was wondrous for all.

Written by Julius Tubman – Senior Vocational and Residential Manager at Thayer Farm Road – Behavioral Associates of Massachusetts