These past several weeks for me as a journalist have brought a nearly constant stream of emails and COVID-19-related news from across the country. I also personally have been experiencing the pandemic as the daughter of a resident of a nursing home (fortunately with no cases at this point). And if you’re reading this, I know you’re experiencing the coronavirus outbreak as someone who deeply cares about the health and safety of those in your community, be they residents or staff members.
It’s a challenging time to be in senior living. But watching or reading the news, or perusing social media feeds, also reveals that long-term care communities across the country are rising to meet that challenge, not only by striving to be vigilant in infection control but also by finding creative ways to meet the social and other needs of residents at a time when no-visitation policies are in place. For instance, check out this video of fitness in a time of social distancing at Miller’s Grant.
The Oakmont, PA-based Presbyterian SeniorCare Network has begun a #RaysOfSunshine campaign, soliciting notes and cards via U.S. mail or Facebook from members of the community to help brighten the days of residents, patients and employees.
“People are reaching out to us asking if they can send cards and notes,” Presbyterian SeniorCare Network President and CEO Paul Winkler says. “In response, we checked with our chief medical director and received clearance that greetings can be received.” The project also can serve to teach children home from school about acts of kindness and bringing joy to others, he says. See Sr.Care.org/RaysOfSunshine for more information.
Another example can be found at Sandpiper Retirement Community in Mount Pleasant, SC, managed by Premier Senior Living/REVELA. The community has announced that it will deliver supplies and groceries to anyone over 60 sheltering in place or quarantined in surrounding towns due to COVID-19 — even as the community continues to serve more than 300 residents on-site. The older adults pay for their supplies, but delivery is free.
And Proctor Place, a retirement community in Peoria, IL, is partnering with local restaurants to bring residents some of their favorite foods while they are living under the new guidelines of social distancing.
“The idea is to make every Proctor Place resident as comfortable as possible during the COVID-19 quarantine, while also supporting our local businesses and economy,” Proctor Place President and CEO Donna Malone says.
I agree with Malone, who says, “We believe our most challenging times also result in moments in life that bring out the best in us.”
Many, many more examples exist of senior living companies taking extraordinary steps on behalf of older adults at this time. We’d love to hear your stories. I welcome your photos and related information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for all you do.