It was a bright spot for the community of Carroll Lutheran Village when 104-year-old Vivian Myers was released from isolation after recovering from COVID-19.
By accounts of her family and care staff, she is very happy to be back to her own room in the Westminster retirement community.
Myers has been a resident of Carroll Lutheran Village since the 1980s, when she and her husband moved into independent living there. She lived in her own apartment past her 100th birthday before moving into higher levels of care, and she is known by many throughout Carroll Lutheran.
Her son and daughter-in-law, Richard and Karen Myers, describe her as “one of these people who’s always doing for everybody else.”
Karen said she is “generous with time and talents" and said Vivian would talk about helping her fellow residents with tasks like folding sheets — even those who were younger than her.
“I always felt like if she was born 60 years later, she’d be running IBM,” Richard said. "She’s very organized, meticulous, hard working. She’s smart.”
Myers was born July 5, 1915, and was just a few years old when the United States weathered the Spanish influenza pandemic. She lived through the Great Depression, and her husband of 58 years served in World War II.
In her younger years, she served as secretary for the Bishop Rev. Paul M. Orso of the Delaware Maryland Synod. A talented seamstress, she has made her own clothes throughout her life and Halloween costumes for her grandchildren. In her 90s she handmade a set of curtains for Karen and Richard that currently hang in their home.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is especially dangerous for older adults. It has claimed the lives of nine Carroll Lutheran Village residents.
Vivian tested positive on April 8 and was able to return from isolation the first week of May. Richard credited Carroll Lutheran with being proactive in testing and treating her.
While it has been tough not to visit her in-person, her family members have kept in touch with her by phone, sometimes multiple times per day. Karen said that social workers at Carroll Lutheran made sure Vivian got to see pictures of her 4-month-old great-grandson. They family is looking forward to the time when Vivian will get to hold him again.
The family was also able to call nurses for health updates and received a letter from the facility every week. Though they don’t know the name of every person who cared for Vivian, Richard and Karen are grateful for them all, they said.
One of those people is Tara West, a licensed practical nurse. Since she began caring for Carroll Lutheran’s COVID-19 patients, the hours have been long and many days have been emotional.
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“There’s been a lot of tears,” West said.
She had been isolating from her family for about a month after the first cases entered the care facility. It was difficult to only see her kids through a video screen.
The day she told Myers that she’d be returning from isolation was a bright spot.
“Do you feel like walking?” she asked.
“I guess,” Myers replied.
A video of Myers that day, walking back to her own room has been shared over 500 times from Carroll Lutheran’s Facebook page by those cheering her on.
“There’s been a lot of sad times, and also a lot of happy times that we’re proud of as a community," West said, "and that was for sure one of them.”