Life Reimagined - The Strength of Community
With the lasting impact of COVID-19 yet to be fully realized, we reflect on how the pandemic affected seniors, specifically those residing in assisted living communities.
In March of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a national emergency, our lives and senior residential communities were forever changed. As we were actively learning more about the virus and how it was disproportionately affecting older adults, assisted living management teams had already pivoted their thinking and were doing things differently. One of the primary objectives, after keeping residents safe and healthy, was to combat fear, uncertainty, and feelings of isolation. As a whole, assisted living residents fared considerably better than individuals not residing in a residential living community. Systems were put in place, seemingly overnight, to ensure that the residents not only felt safe – they were safe and were never left feeling alone. This was accomplished through consistent check-ins, delivering meals when communal dining was no longer allowed, continuing to offer support for daily living, and providing many opportunities for socialization and enrichment. The commitment of dedicated employee team members, working diligently to keep residents and each other safe and their creativity and readiness to try different things was critical. Communication has always been of utmost importance and became even more so through the darkest times of the pandemic. Management teams strived to remain transparent and ever-available to their residents and families, addressing their concerns and guiding them through the process.
Looking to the future, though we don’t have a crystal ball, we envision a lifestyle similar to that which assisted living residents enjoy now – a secure, safe, and worry-free community that provides the services and amenities they need, where and when they need them.
A lot has been learned in the past year and we will take that knowledge forward and be even better at what we do. Making virtual visits and specialized programming available can be fulfilling for residents who are unable to see family face-to-face or participate in regular activities, for whatever reason. Virtual tours allow us to share the essence of a community and living options with individuals in any location – as long as they have an internet connection!
By adapting and increasing services to meet the needs of a population aging in place, residents and their families can be secure in the knowledge that caring for the individual’s well-being is the focus of the assisted living community.