Food, amenities, and care and service. In our (comparatively) blissful lives before COVID-19, those were usually the three things seniors and families would prioritize most when evaluating the overall suitability of a prospective senior living community. And indeed, they’re still critically important today.
In fact, COVID-19 does much to further highlight the many benefits of living in a supportive and senior-friendly setting. It’s just that certain health- and safety-minded questions have now become increasingly important as well.
So by all means, don’t hesitate to explore the maintenance-free lifestyle afforded by today’s senior living communities. Just when doing so, be sure to ask the three (3) important questions that follow, which will really help to illuminate how experienced, prepared and proficient a given community is when it comes to its ability to keep residents, Team Members, and the general public safe from serious threats like those we’re seeing now with COVID-19.
WHAT EMERGENCY PROCEDURES & SAFETY PROTOCOLS ARE IN PLACE TO PROTECT RESIDENTS?
Indeed, the stringent cleaning and sanitizing processes right now being utilized at the community level are great for upholding the safe standards recommended by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). That, and merely knowing that thorough precautions and preventive efforts are being taken gives seniors and families invaluable peace of mind, whether in tough times like today, or when living life as usual.
Surface cleaning, however, is just the beginning. Other, advance precautions, the coordinated team and resource response to threats like infectious diseases, and as we’ll soon discuss in detail, communication strategy help exhibit a thorough and well-planned program. And that’s what seniors and families should demand at a time when COVID-19 has shown us that the unexpected can indeed happen, and both individuals and the communities in which we live must be vigilant and well-prepared when it comes to matters of health and safety.
HOW DOES THE COMMUNITY ENSURE CONTINUING ACCESS TO FOOD & HEALTHCARE PRODUCTS?
Empty store shelves seen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic quickly restored the public’s appreciation for many of the items—like food, medical supplies, and other necessities—to which we rarely gave a second thought before.
Widespread stay-at-home orders, in fact, helped to further emphasize the value of the senior living community setting, where seniors’ daily needs may be satisfied right at home without frequent or even unnecessary grocery and/or pharmacy trips. The availability of regular, daily meals further adds to the utility and benefit.
When evaluating communities, then, the message is to appreciate a community’s ability to deliver quality of life in good times, but also ensure its ability to sustain that lifestyle even in the face of outside challenges. Here, national and corporate buying power may help ensure continuous access to food and provisions, as well as high-demand medical supplies. And the availability of technology and concierge-level service might enable residents to get help procuring important consumer and medical products online or over the phone and arranging for their delivery right to the community, as is being done currently to keep residents safe and protected from the spread of COVID-19.
Today’s state of affairs proves that the public demands timely and reliable information more than ever before, especially when it comes to matters of health and safety. And that means no emergency plans are complete without a clear and effective communication protocol to go with them.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional and digital methods are being utilized by companies large and small to deliver information to customers and concerned citizens. And senior living communities are following suit, and doing the same for residents and their loved ones.
At a time when outside visitation is almost universally suspended, families are left to rely on the communities for news, information and regular communications about the status of their loved ones and the community and what’s being done to preserve and protect wellness. So just as you ask about processes and procedures and expect a detailed protocol, it’s more than OK to demand the same when it comes to communication and the sharing of information. The best and most well-prepared communities will be prepared to deliver.
Much like emergency procedures as a whole, each of these individual items would have been easy to overlook in the past, but the emergence of COVID-19 and the reality of living life in spite of it has really changed folks’ thinking of late.
To be sure, though, quality of life at the nation’s senior living communities hasn’t been lost. So for seniors and families considering a move, now is actually a rather opportune time. And for those evaluating prospective communities, just remember to ask the above questions, which should tell a lot about the community’s ability to deliver not just lifestyle quality, but sustainability, even in truly unique times like the present.