2020 has been an interesting year to say the least. With the novel Coronavirus upending everyone’s lives, people have had to make adjustments. Unfortunately, Elders and other high-risk groups often face more serious side effects to COVID-19. At the Heathers, we are committed to keeping our residents, family members, and care partners safe. Together, here are six steps we can all take to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Stay Informed: A reliable source for information is the CDC (link) with many helpful graphics and articles about how different aspects of COVID-19 affect our lives. Scientists around the world are learning more about the spread of COVID-19 every day and it is important to remember that new information may become available at any time. The Heathers is committed to continually updating our response to COVID-19 based on the CDC’s recommendations as well as any state regulated guidelines. We will make sure our Elders, families, and care partners are frequently given situation updates.
Practice Prevention Behaviors: Social distance by limiting non-essential, in-person contact as much as possible. Care partners and residents understand that this may mean limiting the number of outside visitors into The Heathers building in order to keep everyone safe. However, since all of our residents’ rooms have outside facing windows, families are welcome to visit outside and see their loved ones through the windows. If face to face interactions are essential, everyone should wear a mask. The Heathers staff understands there are some health situations that could prevent a resident from wearing a mask, and these situations should be discussed with a care partner. The CDC also recommends frequent hand washing under warm water for at least 20 seconds. Care partners will make sure the supply of soap and other personal hygiene objects are well stocked.
Adapt your living space accordingly: The CDC provides several recommendations for keeping a Senior home at low risk for infection. (link) Residents should avoid spending time in another individual’s living area and socially distance. Care partners and Elders should wipe down frequently touched surfaces and not share items. The Heathers is uniquely designed with rooms in quadrants so if a resident were to get sick, sections of the home can be isolated to provide the safest and best care for everyone. The CDC also recommends that a home should be well ventilated. At the Heathers, we are outfitted with AtmosAir technology, which uses bi-polar ions to neutralize the Coronavirus. More information about AtmosAir Solutions can be found on their page here (link).
Keep up Physical Health: Regular exercise is an important factor to remaining healthy during COVID-19. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) has a helpful article on ways to keep Elders energized and what types of exercise are appropriate (link). Many of these can be done from the comfort of one’s room, such as doing balance exercises with a chair during the commercial break of your favorite tv program. Websites like YouTube also feature videos with exercises designed for seniors. However, if you are unsure if an exercise is right for you, ask a family member or care partner for advice. At the Heathers, our beautiful grounds are perfect for a refreshing walk or socially-distanced outdoor exercise.
Keep Up Mental Health: Just as your body will need to be kept healthy, your mental health is equally important. Reading or being read to is a good way to relax and learn new things at the same time. You can also try a new skill that is COVID safe such as drawing, crocheting, or doing puzzles. Our care partners will also provide safe and engaging activities to stimulate the brain. In addition, The Heathers provides access to online courses in a variety of interesting subjects to promote life-long learning.
Stay Connected: Although in-building visits may have to be limited during COVID, there are still plenty of safe ways we can all stay connected. Apps like Skype, Zoom, and Facebook Messenger can be used for video calls. Messenger even offers fun digital games to play together such as catching virtual basketballs. Elders can ask a care partner for help with accessing these technologies or to join in with them. There’s also much to be said for just simple phone calls. I personally remember calling my great grandmother Sally to tell her I was reading Macbeth, her favorite Shakespeare play. Lo and behold, I found out she could still recite the entire “Tomorrow” soliloquy by heart at the age of 90. You never know what interesting facts you can learn about your family when you give them a call.
Following these six simple steps will help our Residents, Families, and Care Partners reduce the spread of COVID-19. At The Heathers, we are all working together to create a safe and inspired environment.