At this time, Senior Communities have been instructed by state and federal authorities to discontinue nonessential visitors to seniors, including family and friends due to the Coronavirus. It is difficult for everyone involved. Families may be frustrated they can’t see their loved ones, as well as the residents who are facing disruption to everyday life.
The Coronavirus has created a severe threat to Seniors, especially those with underlying health issues.
Many seniors who are living in Assisted Living and Nursing Homes already have underlying health issues. They have chosen to move into a Senior Care community for that very reason or because they need additional support.
It is the utmost priority to keep seniors and Staff healthy and free from the Coronavirus. The positive side of living in a community is that we are already isolated from the general public. Because we provide all meals and services, there is little need for any of our residents to go out of the building.
It can be heartbreaking to discontinue visits from friends and families, but it is necessary at this time.
We hope that this will be a short suspension of visitation, but we will be following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). In the meantime, we are developing a list of creative ways to “visit in absentia.”
- Call frequently for a short visit. Always be uplifting and encouraging!
- With the help of Staff, you could plan a FaceTime or Skype call. Although our residents may not be familiar with this type of communication, it may be the appropriate time to experience this new technology. A video call could include the whole family, which would be extra fun to the resident!
- Most of our residents have spent a lifetime writing letters and notes to friends and family. What a great time to resurrect a lost art. You know they would be thrilled to get some handwritten mail. Letters could be mailed or dropped off at the front door for immediate delivery.
- Think about buying a bundle of postcards and send one a day with a cheerful message.
Kids and grandkids could draw pictures and send them to a resident. Since most schools are canceled, it would be a great way to entertain the kids. It could be turned into an English assignment!
- Send some flowers to cheer your loved one up! You could make it an early Mother or Father’s Day surprise.
- Send a care package of crossword puzzles, books, candy, tea, comfort items, or their favorite things. Be sure and sanitize everything before you pack it up. Because the virus can live on the surface of items for days, the community will likely sanitize it before delivering it to your mom or dad.
- Make an “I love you,” or “I miss you” poster to hang in their room. You could include family pictures of kids and grandkids. It would be fun to surprise them outside their window in the parking lot hold a big sign.
Additional Ideas for encouraging Staff.
This is a stressful time for caregiving staff as well. We need to pay special attention to take care of the caregivers. Although individual staff cannot accept gifts from residents or families, here are some ideas to encourage the whole team.
- Order in pizza, cookies, or other food items for the staff members to share.
- Send notes or cards of appreciation to the staff members.
- Send a bouquet of flowers or a candy-gram for everyone to enjoy.
- Make a “we appreciate you poster” for the staff to hang up.
- Send some happy face balloons.
The restrictions may be irritating, but the wellbeing of our residents is the top priority!
We will send additional ideas as they come to mind, but most of all, stay positive and remember this will pass. If you have a “visit in absentia” idea to share, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our priority is to keep our residents healthy and happy, and we know that is your priority too.