Few are more at risk for severe complications from the new coronavirus COVID-19 than the residents of assisted living facilities and nursing homes.
The virus causes only mild to moderate symptoms in most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with preexisting health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
Great Oaks Management, which owns Limestone Manor and Limestone Lodge Assisted Living and Memory Care in Athens, has made adjustments to its regular routine in order to abide by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines while still allowing residents to enjoy their time.
The facilities have discontinued group activities and communal dining in favor of social distancing so that exposure to others is limited, Great Oaks Management said in a press release.
“We recognize the potential toll this type of protective environment can create in a senior community where socialization and engagement are usually a primary focus,” the release said. “We are committed to ensuring that social distancing does not create social isolation and increased stress during this crisis.”
In order to make sure the distancing doesn't turn to isolation, seniors are engaging in activities that don't violate the 6-foot barrier recommended for social distancing. Some of those activities include:
• Hallway ice cream socials and birthday parties;
• Hallway bingo and trivia;
• Doorway exercises;
• Doorway bowling and kickball;
• Individual activity kits with word search, crossword and other puzzles;
• Books and magazines;
• FaceTime and video calls with family; and
• Window visits with family and friends.
“Our programs can accommodate future changes and provide a sense of normalcy for the seniors at the assisted living and memory care communities,” the release said.
Great Oaks thanked friends and family members of the residents for providing support during this time of uncertainty.
“They have stayed connected via phone, mail and Facebook,” the press release said. “Families are visiting through the windows, bringing pets to visit residents at the windows and conducting FaceTime and video chats. They have generously donated games, puzzles and cleaning supplies. We requested trays and small tables for in-room activities and the response was amazing. The cooperation and support of our family members during the isolation period has been outstanding.”