The Latest on Exceptional Senior Placement’s COVID-19 Response
Can you still move to a Senior Living Community?
We have all been greatly impacted by the emergence and persistence of COVID-19. Our team receives calls every day from seniors, or their loved ones, asking if it’s still advisable and even possible to move to a senior living community. The short answer is YES!
While there hasn’t been a mandated government shutdown of assisted living, communities have instituted protocols to ensure their residents and staff remain as safe and healthy as possible. These mandates also apply to prospective new residents and are a mandatory part of the move-in process. It’s important to note that each community is unique with differing rules. However, most often this includes two necessary steps:
- A negative COVID-19 test result
- 10 day period where the new resident is separated from those who currently reside in the community.
The coronavirus has made it crucial that these practical steps are taken to safeguard the seniors we serve and the team members who care for them.
Another question we receive is about the coronavirus outbreaks occurring specifically within the places where the elderly reside. It’s important to note, many of these devastating outbreaks have happened at what’s referred to as, skilled nursing facilities, and are not the same as the assisted living communities we work to locate for our seniors and their family. While assisted living has not been immune, we help to identify those who’ve had cases and what measures have been put in place to safeguard the resident’s health.
Independent/Assisted Living (Our area of focus): these include large communities all the way to small residential board and care homes. It also encompasses specialized memory care communities.
Skilled Nursing (we do not work with these facilities): these are in-patient rehabilitation and medical treatment centers staffed with medical professionals. As widely reported in the media, the pandemic has had a devastating effect on these facilities. Thankfully, better safeguards have been implemented.
What Happens Once You Move In?
Senior Living Communities follow protocols and precautions that are based on the CDC and Health Department guidelines currently in place. In almost all cases these include:
Visitor restrictions: Only essential visitors will be permitted to enter inside senior living communities until further notice. However, many communities have outdoor visiting areas designated specifically for families to see their loved ones. These include patios and other outdoor venues that adhere to strict social distancing policies while allowing a safe place to visit. Some communities have indoor rooms designated for visiting where the resident is seated near an open window and can safely meet with a loved one who is outside and at a safe distance.
Social Activities: Each community is able to provide social and spiritual activities based on their unique situation. These include small group activities like art and music that adhere to social distancing protocols. Hallway Bingo is another popular activity.
Dining: Most communities are allowing two residents per table in their dining areas and have even installed plastic partitions to further safeguard seniors. Others choose to provide meals directly to residents in their own apartment or room. It depends on the unique situation and number of residents in each community.
Moving to a Senior Community vs. Home Care
In addition to limiting visitors, they are implementing the following guidelines within the community itself:
- Limiting gatherings of individuals to no more than 10 people.
- Activities will continue in a limited way to avoid close contact and supplies will be properly sanitized between uses.
- Increase in frequency of cleaning and sanitizing rooms and common areas
- Many are suspending normal meal services in the restaurants and dining rooms, but are offering complimentary room service as well as to-go options at no additional charge.
- Working on new ways of keeping everyone connected by posting updates on websites, helping residents utilize technology such as FaceTime and Zoom, hosting virtual classes, and offering families additional phone, text, or email alerts.