In our communities you’ll often hear the motto, “We are better together.” That has never been truer than it is today as we continue to navigate life in a COVID-19 world. Although physical distance may still separate us within the communities and from our loved ones; in senior living you are never alone. Friends, neighbors and caring staff are always near and we all appreciate those connections even more now. It’s what makes life better, and that’s why we’re putting all our creativity into making each day joyful as we keep our seniors safe and healthy. Here’s how.
It’s not good for anyone to be sedentary, but it’s particularly harmful for seniors. In fact, spending too much time with little to no physical activity puts them at higher risk for conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease, some cancers, Type 2 diabetes and cognitive decline. It can even put seniors at greater risk of depression which is already a concern during this stressful time.
With ample space to social distance both indoors and outdoors in our senior living communities, we are able to keep residents engaged and active in small groups, and independently, with a range of options each day that include:
- Library with a large collection of books and magazine subscriptions
- Art and craft opportunities
- Virtual concerts
- Games like hallway bowling and putt putt golf
- Fitness classes
- Dining at a distance as well as meal delivery
- Outdoor walking paths
Additional creative ideas that individual communities have started include social distance happy hours, luaus on the porch and brunch socials on the patio. Communities have also hosted drive-thru parades with families, as well as virtual health fairs. And who doesn’t love the ice cream “truck’ stopping by your residence to deliver sweet treats?
Social isolation poses serious health risks for seniors and was already a growing concern that affected nearly 1 in 5 seniors even before COVID-19. It’s different than loneliness in that social isolation occurs when you become detached physically or psychologically, from family, friends and community. According to the AARP foundation, the dangers of social isolation for seniors are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. That’s why we are committed to keeping our seniors connected in every way we can.
We’re making use of our ample technology resources in our senior living communities to encourage regular FaceTime and Skype visits with family and friends. We’re checking in on residents daily to make sure they have that important in-person interaction and that they have everything they need.
What’s more, we’ve recently started in-person outside visits between residents and family members, socially distanced of course!
Reducing the Risk of COVID-19
As an organization, we continue to be rigorous in our approach to help prevent any potential spread of COVID-19. In fact, Dr. Sandra Petersen, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, GNP-BC, PMHNP-BE, FAANP, has joined Navion Senior Solutions as our Coronavirus Response Principal. She’s specifically charged with enhancing our current coronavirus response protocols and adapting existing ones in response to daily changes in federal, state, and local recommendations and guidelines. Dr. Peterson is also working to expand our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) buying program beyond the tens of thousands of PPE items already purchased and enhance our onsite testing program, built in partnership with Magnolia Labs out of Dallas, TX.