As the world begins to reopen following shutdowns from the coronavirus pandemic, many people are considering best practices for moving forward in the “new normal.”
COVID-19 has impacted every person’s life, including seniors who have been living at home during quarantine.
As a caregiver, you may have been concerned about the safety of moving your loved one into senior living during the pandemic, felt unsure if it was the right choice, or if it was even advisable. Luckily, we can assure you that senior living communities are an outstanding option for taking care of your loved one.
Because of senior living communities’ responsibilities, regulations, and enforcement while following COVID-19 protocols, these communities are often the safest place for your senior loved one.
Finding safe senior living throughout the pandemic can be stressful, but here’s what to look for in the safest assisted living communities.
Why Living in a Community is Safer Than Being Cared for At Home
At senior living communities, extensive safety protocols are followed to reduce as much outside contact as possible. But when your loved one receives care at home, they are more susceptible to external exposure.
Your loved one at home depends on their family and caregivers to take them to their appointments, doctor visits, or run their errands, often exposing them to more outside contact than is ideal.
Maintaining a house and a yard can also add unnecessary fall risk, lead to other accidents, or require hiring more outside services.
There are numerous benefits your loved one receives when they move into senior living. For one, all meals are provided through special dining services, which means your loved one doesn’t need to travel to the grocery store or travel unnecessarily to pick up supplies.
Senior living communities have their own maintenance and support staff who can assist your loved one with any appliance or IT issue as well.
You can also rest assured knowing your loved one will be surrounded by a team of licensed medical providers who work around the clock. On-site rehabilitation services and other assistance reduce the risk of community exposure, allowing your loved one to only interact with those inside their community’s bubble.
How Communities Are Keeping Residents Safe and Social Amidst Social Distancing
Senior living communities take their responsibilities seriously to sustain a COVID-19 safe environment. While this has meant limiting outside visitors, many communities have adapted to keep residents and their families connected using videoconferencing apps, such as Slack, FaceTime, and facilitating on-site family visits.
In-person meetings and dining sessions have also been adapted to keep gatherings sizes smaller. Masks are required for residents engaging in group settings, such as religious service, life enrichment activities, and wellness programs.
- Sanitizing surfaces
- Reducing contact with visitors, including using a designated single point of entry into the building
- Requiring staff to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face shields, N95 or surgical masks, isolation gowns, and gloves
- Washing hands and using hand sanitizer throughout team member’s shifts
- Having residents wear masks when appropriate
- Monitoring team members and residents for fever and symptoms of illness
- Practicing social distancing
- Requiring unvaccinated new residents to quarantine for 14 days
Because COVID-19 can affect seniors more strongly than other ages, senior communities were the first in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, with many getting their first doses in January this year.
Residents living in senior communities are also more likely to be regularly tested for COVID-19, which provides peace of mind for residents, team members, and their families.
Many senior communities have partnered with local vaccine distributors to vaccinate their resident populations on-site, further reducing the need for outside travel to another vaccination facility.
Our team worked with Walgreens this past January and February to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine at Kensington Park. Everyone received both doses of the vaccine, spaced out according to procedure. As a result, 90.4% of team members and 99% of residents were vaccinated across the entire campus!
New residents are also eligible for the vaccine. We encourage anyone to contact our team to walk you through options and answer any questions on our COVID vaccine safety measures.
How Memory Care Neighborhoods Offer Dedicated Care for Memory Loss
Following social distancing protocols and wearing a mask is difficult for seniors suffering memory loss, especially when you’re taking them to doctor visits and other high-risk areas.
For caregivers of individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you’ve likely experienced your share of frustrations or difficulties persuading your loved one to wear a mask or follow certain protocols.
Luckily, memory care communities offer more supervision in a safe and friendly environment with protocols to minimize outside contact.
These memory care communities have loving and caring staff who provide clinical services on-site, and are specially designed and color-coded to assist those with memory loss navigate them easier. They often feature gripped carpets to reduce fall risk and are located in a secure environment to make sure residents don’t wander off.
Learn More: Kensington Park Senior Living COVID-19 Protocols and Vaccine Information
Our enhanced care programs allow us to provide more services than many traditional assisted living communities can offer. This includes a full spectrum of clinical support, including end-of-life care, diabetes management, and medical administration including injections.
We can accommodate residents with late-stage Alzheimer’s and those who are in need of specialized care due to a higher acuity, who might not otherwise be accepted at other senior living communities.
At Kensington Park Senior Living, we take COVID-19 protocols very seriously. We work to make sure all of our residents and staff have received their COVID-19 vaccination. We extend our COVID-19 vaccination to all new residents as well.
Because our resident population is mostly older than age 65, we had the benefit of providing our residents with the COVID-19 vaccine before much of the population.
Residents at Kensington Park Senior Living received both doses of their vaccine a few months ago. Even after our residents have received the COVID-19 vaccine, we will still follow all current virus prevention protocols.
For those considering what to do for a senior loved one in this “new normal,” we extend Our Promise to you — to love and care for your loved one as we do our own.
Please contact us to receive additional information on our enhanced living communities and memory care services provided.