Common Misconceptions About COVID-19 and Senior Living
It’s difficult to watch the news these days without hearing a negative story about COVID-19 and senior living. We talk to prospective residents and their families every day about common myths of communities like ours, and we know you probably have a lot of questions and uncertainties about senior living during the pandemic. We hope the following information will help clarify what is true about the novel coronavirus’s impact on senior living to hopefully alleviate fear and assist you and your loved ones moving forward .
Myth 1: Communities aren’t a safe place to live
Perhaps the biggest concern for many people is the safety of their loved one(s) residing in a senior living community. Older adults are at higher risk than other populations, especially if they have underlying medical conditions. Fortunately, our communities are already specially trained to focus on the health and well being of residents and team members. All retirement communities follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state, and local health department regulations and recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
These safety precautions are in place for communities like Village On The Green (a Lifespace Community®):
- A universal policy requiring all team members, visitors and vendors to wear masks
- Entrance screening which includes a temperature check upon entrance into the community for all staff and allowed visitors
- Prohibition of team members and visitors from entering the community if exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses
- Notification to all residents, their families, staff and responsible parties when residents or staff have been diagnosed with COVID-19
Rest assured, the health and well-being of our residents and families and our team members remains our priority during this pandemic. Check our Lifespace Coronavirus Update for the latest information on our community or contact us for more information.
Myth 2: Residents Are Isolated
While senior living communities are taking safety precautions to protect their residents and staff from COVID-19, which include encouraging community members to stay home as much as possible, socialization remains important. Most communities, like Village on the Green, restrict gatherings in common areas or individual apartments but encourage independent residents to leave their living spaces to take a walk, get fresh air and participate in community-sponsored activities which have been adjusted to accommodate proper social distancing. For residents needing assistance or residing in health care-focused environments, specific guidance is given to work with residents, based on their individual needs, schedules and preferences.
Here are just a few of the activities that have taken place so far this fall at Village on the Green:
- A week-long virtual Caribbean cruise, including travel documentaries, games and culinary themes
- An outdoor seafood boil celebration
- A visit to each resident by a mobile hot dog cart for International Dog Day
Myth 3: Residents Are Inactive
An active lifestyle is always important for the health of older adults — even during a pandemic. Although communities work closely with local, state and federal agencies to maintain necessary safety precautions to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, opportunities remain for residents to be physically active as much as possible. At Village on the Green, for example, our gym remains open (by appointment and with proper sanitization). Residents are also encouraged to use the pool (six people at a time). During the pandemic, communities have adjusted to make online offerings to senior living community members more accessible such as exercise programs. This may even be more convenient for some residents with physical limitations.
Residents of senior living communities are also adapting to new ways of learning to stay intellectually engaged. Many communities offer programs for participants to continue their education during the pandemic, which has been shown to improve cognitive function and memory. These types of programs offer individuals the opportunity to connect socially, as well. Through the Village University program at Village on the Green, residents gather on Zoom four times a week to learn about different topics, from literature to foreign languages, and participate in artistic expressions.
“It’s exciting, it’s interesting. It’s keeping me motivated to do things instead of sitting home and being bored and getting depressed.” — Carol Parker, Village on the Green resident
Myth 4: Families Aren’t Allowed Contact with Residents
While visits are now often restricted in order to ensure the safety of residents and team members, rest assured that family members are always welcome to call their loved ones, drop off essential items or gifts, and pending the need/availability for technology assistance, to conduct video calls with residents. They may also assist with critical care appointments. While your access to see a loved one may be restricted to certain areas, every senior living community is different, and we understand how important contact with loved ones is for older adults. Please contact your specific community for more details and to confirm rules and regulations. As cities reopen, guidelines may change over time, as administrators make adjustments to meet the individual needs and circumstances of their local community. These should always remain in accordance with all required local, state, and federal laws, rules and regulations for an individual senior living community.
Even during a pandemic, Village on the Green is dedicated to providing our residents a great experience. If you have additional questions, see this list of Longwood resources to help you stay informed of the latest updates. To learn more about COVID-19 and senior living, and how our community remains active and engaged while working to ensure the health and safety of residents and staff, fill out the form at the bottom of this page.