Some people are hesitant about moving into communal living situations such as retirement communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, but for many older adults, it’s still the best option. Here are some reasons why people are moving into Holiday Retirement independent living communities right now:
Loneliness and isolation can increase the risk of physical and emotional health challenges in older adults. COVID-19 has highlighted just how damaging isolation can be for older adults living alone. “Some future residents and their families don't feel comfortable with the social isolation that they’re experiencing at home right now,” said Mark Campbell, regional director of sales for Holiday Retirement. “They don't have a support system when they’re at home by themselves.”
Even with physical distancing in place, some older people who live alone will be more connected and supported in a senior living community. They’ll have in-person, no-contact interaction with independent living community staff as well as virtual and social distancing activities.
At Holiday Retirement, our associates are making sure residents stay engaged and entertained with physical-distancing activities. Residents aren’t able to attend regularly scheduled group events, but apartment doorways are at least six feet apart, making halls perfect for activities like doorway bingo, pool noodle games, hallway happy hour, sing-alongs, and doorway exercise classes. Other happenings include music performances that residents can watch from their balconies, staff parades down the community hall, dress-up theme days, and daily community newsletters with word puzzles, games, jokes, comic strips, stories, activities, tips, and resident submissions.
Peace of Mind
COVID-19 has unearthed a lot of anxiety for older adults and their loved ones. Daily activities like shopping are riddled with stress. People are also worried about having enough supplies. “Fear is driving some of the move-ins we’re seeing right now,” said Campbell. “They don’t have a support system, and they’re at home by themselves. They’re scared, and don’t feel comfortable going out to shop. We provide a safer environment.”
Living in an independent living community means you never need to worry about going to the store if that’s your preference. Food and pertinent resources are within the community. Because of Holiday Retirement’s large size and buying power, our strong supply-chain relationships ensure our senior living communities are always supplied with necessities such as food, water, and other crucial resources. We were able to immediately source and supply our communities with extra COVID-19 essentials like masks, hand sanitizers, and pathogen-killing cleaning agents.
Holiday Retirement is also getting move-in inquiries from loved ones who don’t live in the same city as their parents. “Loved ones don’t want Mom and Dad going to Walmart right now,” Campbell said. “They’re anxious. We provide a level of socialization that some aren’t receiving at home, and we are certainly able to provide the goods and services they can’t get at home.”
For some seniors, independent living communities can help them keep a safe distance from others during COVID-19. Older adults who live with their children, grandchildren, and other family members may have a difficult time keeping the six-foot physical distance between people recommended by health agencies right now.
Holiday Retirement’s senior living communities can make physical distancing easier for some people during COVID-19 through private apartments, delivered meals, social activities that follow physical distancing guidelines, and CDC-backed protocols around the use of PPEs.
COVID-19 hasn’t changed the unfortunate statistics around seniors who live alone. Research finds people aged 65 and older who live alone are at greater risk for multiple falls, memory problems, difficulty with basic and instrumental daily activities, poor diet, lower functioning, and alcohol abuse. At a senior living community, residents are surrounded by staff and neighbors who look out for them.
Holiday Retirement is proud to be a community where older adults can feel calm, safe, and secure. There’s a tremendous peace-of-mind that comes from living in a community designed for safety and comfort, and being surrounded by caring associates and neighbors who are always ready to lend a helping hand. We offer a number of safety features that help residents and their loved ones rest easy, such as:
- GreatCall emergency response devices, which call help with the touch of a button.
- 24/7 telehealth services, so residents can access healthcare services within the comfort and safety of their own apartment.
- Proven emergency plans, specially trained associates, and powerful supply-chain relationships to keep residents safe during severe weather and other natural disasters.
- Thoughtfully designed apartments and common spaces featuring handrails, wide hallways, easy-to-maneuver floor plans, and strategically placed furniture to prevent trip hazards.
- Weekly housekeeping and linen services, and frequent dusting and sanitizing of common areas with special attention to high-touch surfaces.
Enhanced safety measures during COVID-19 include infectious disease protocols that follow CDC guidelines, addressing all aspects of our community operations, including dining, housekeeping, group activities, and transportation. Safety measures include:
- Customized video tours and “window shopping” exterior tours for future residents (with stringent safety protocols in place).
- The option of using Docusign or no-contact signing outside of communities for new leases.
- Physical distancing for all residents and associates.
- Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitizer.
- Enhanced cleaning protocols and increased sanitizing of high-touch areas
- Visitor restrictions that permit only essential people like health aids and caregivers in the community who must pass through our front-desk screening processes.
Some people transition into independent living after spending time in a rehabilitation center or other health care facility. A senior living community provides safety in numbers, and residents can receive ancillary services like physical therapy and occupational therapy without leaving community. “COVID-19 doesn’t mean there aren’t people leaving rehab or facilities who need more support than they’d get living alone,” said Campbell.
Emergency Preparedness Plans
COVID-19 has prompted some seniors and their loved ones to think about their safety in other crises. Older adults who live alone can be vulnerable during severe weather and natural disasters. Senior living communities have protocols in place to keep residents safe during these events.
Holiday Retirement communities have been around since 1971. We have long-standing emergency and disaster protocols to keep our residents and associates safe. Our disaster and emergency protocols include infectious disease planning and response, and severe weather and natural disaster protocols. We provide critical tools, supplies, and support to all of our retirement communities.
Community leaders are at the community 24/7 before and during a severe weather event. We have a comprehensive communication plan to keep residents and their families informed. Holiday communities are equipped with back-up generators and other emergency needs. If necessary, motor coaches are on call to transport residents to safe locations.
Life Doesn’t Stop
COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed day-to-day life across the globe, but it hasn’t changed the needs and wants of people. “Quite frankly, life doesn’t stop, and people do progress to the extent that they want to live in our communities,” said Campbell. “It’s a challenging environment right now, but we have an obligation to our residents and associates, our community at large, the general public, and the older people who need additional support, and want additional support.”
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