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ABC 33/40: Local senior living community sees more smiles amid pandemic

Making Smiles and Lip Reading Easier To See

Melinda Landers’ mother lives at Longleaf in Vestavia Hills.

She’s in memory care and can be hard of hearing.

So, Landers looked for ideas to help her communicate with staff.

She found a way to make mask with plastic material so residents could see staff smile again.

“As soon as this started and I knew everyone was going to have to wear mask, I knew that mom needed something else because she has an ear implant but she still reads lips so I started searching on the internet,” said Landers.

Landers said she remembers when her mother bought her first sewing machine and taught her how to sew.

Although she’s in memory care, she said she knows her mother would be proud.

“In her former mind she would have been excited and especially that she was an excellent seamstress herself. She would have been excited that I’ve used the sewing machine she bought me and the lessons that she paid for when I was a teenager,” said Landers.

Longleaf Executive Director Leslie Carter said the masks have made a phenomenal impact on residents.

“When we are trying to get our residents even to stand up, seeing our smile and facial expression makes all the difference when we are caring for residents,” said Carter.

Carter said they are thankful for the community’s support during these trying times.

“Everyone that’s given a helping hand to help make our jobs easier has really been a blessing for us here at Longleaf,” said Carter.

Landers said she’s working to make more masks so every staff member can show their smiles.

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