How Senior Living Communities Are Handling COVID-19

Senior residents and family visiting outside during COVID-19

Written by Avamere Living

September 28, 2020

Adjustments during COVID-19

The Avamere Family of Companies, providing assisted living, independent living, memory care, rehabilitation, home care, and skilled nursing across 20 states, knows the COVID-19 pandemic has changed day-to-day life in senior living communities. Communities quickly had to close their doors to visits and other external personnel when the pandemic first hit. Social distancing had to be practiced. Personal protective equipment (PPE) was needed.

So, just how are senior living communities handling COVID-19?

Enhanced cleaning and surface testing

Senior living companies, including Avamere, quickly addressed existing cleaning protocols and made decisions on what needed to be modified. For example, Avamere now cleans and sanitizes high-contact area more frequently. Regular surface testing is also taking place to identify potential problem areas.

Wellness checks and testing

To help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, Avamere communities are performing regular COVID-19 testing to both team members and residents. Employees are screened before every shift, including a temperature check. If an employee or resident tests positive, they are quarantined for 14 days. Additionally, if an employee has traveled out of state, they are not allowed to work for 14 days.

Modified activities

Daily activities are a mainstay of senior living communities. When the pandemic hit and social distancing needed to be practiced, this made organized activities difficult. In Avamere communities, team members took some time to carefully plan creative ways to hold many of the activities seniors love. Bingo moved to hallways, with each resident sitting at their doorway entrance to participate. Exercise classes are held in bigger spaces so seniors can spread out. If the weather is nice, outdoor concerts are organized. As certain markets begin to open back up on a limited basis, some excursions have resumed at a lowered capacity, so that social distancing can still take place.

Limited visitations

With senior communities allowing no outside visitors, how do you keep elders in touch with their loved ones? Again, creativity is key here. Many Avamere communities planned out window or balcony visits, keeping proper distance and allowing conversation to take place via phone. Many seniors are experiencing video chats for the first time, and enjoying them! In certain markets that are in a county or state reopening phase, outdoor visitations with clear screens are occurring in some communities.

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