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Heather Francis serves as the director of nursing at Our Is- land Home where caring for Nantucket’s most vulnerable population has raised a whole new set of challenges. With their residents no longer able to have visitors, Francis and her dedicated team moved in to fill the void by helping them connect with family through FaceTime and doubling down on activities to keep them entertained and engaged. “We’re learning so much from our residents,” Francis says, “especially how we can do more with less.”

To minimize the risk of exposure, Our Island Home has kept their staff small each day, which has put more demand on those attending. “I’ve watched directors wash dishes and witnessed aides provide compassionate care consistently,” describes Francis. “The nurses and aides are here 24/7—with- out a single complaint.”

Francis and her team at Our Island Home are just an example of the many people caring for Nantucket’s elderly population. Whether at Sherburne Commons, The Saltmarsh Senior Center or in hundreds of private residences, caregivers are taking extraordinary measures to serve our most vulnerable population during this most distressing period. “This is a tough time for all, mentally and physically,” says Heather Francis, “but sometimes our greatest struggles bring about our greatest successes.”

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