MEDFORD, Ore. -- Cabin fever is one way to describe what the seniors living at Horton Plaza have been experiencing over the past few weeks. Employees have had to cancel most of the fun, outdoor field trips scheduled for the summer because of the terrible air quality.
"The smoke is our biggest problem right now. We measure clear days by hours, and smoky days by weeks," said Horton Plaza resident Charles Mettler.
He’s lived in the Rogue Valley for decades and in the Horton Plaza retirement living center in Medford for one of those. He's thrilled to be able to finally see the summer sky he's missed over the past few weeks.
"I keep saying clear days because the smoke is still in the back of my mind,” Mettler added.
Horton Plaza has had to change the summer schedule because of the terrible air quality brought on by wildfire smoke, cancelling outdoor field trips for more indoor activities.
"[We’ve canceled out] our Crater Lake trip, the Pennington Farms trip, we were going to go into Becky's Cafe and stuff like that but we've had to cancel all of those and try to do more stuff in house," said Assistant Manager, Kristen Williams.
She said the seniors’ health is their number one priority especially while the air quality has been so poor. The retirement living center has run through plenty of air filters for the air conditioning and N-95 masks as well.
"So even in our courtyard, they usually like to hang out on a nice day but we just try to encourage them when the smoke's out to stay inside as much as possible," Williams added.
Mettler said choking on summer smoke was not always the norm and isn't quite sure how that can be improved in order to have less-smoky summers.
“Disappointment and sometimes it’s clear at night and smoky in the morning. And I don't know how long that lasts," Mettler added.
Over the last few days, Williams has noticed the overall mood at the retirement community brighten since everyone's been able to see the sky.