In the News - May 28, 2020
As health officials instructed the public to self-quarantine to protect themselves and others from the spread of the coronavirus, news reports began to highlight another concern – the adverse effects of social distancing on seniors, a population already at risk of social isolation and loneliness. For residents who live in a senior living community, however, this risk of becoming socially isolated may be lower than for other seniors. Even while maintaining safe physical distancing practices, residents and staff are finding opportunities to stay active, have fun, and socialize safely, helping everyone to stay healthy and happy during the pandemic. Here’s what that looks like at one community.
At Villagio of Bradford Village, a community in Edmond, OK, assisted living staff and residents are finding creative ways to modify favorite programs and special events. Take our newly adapted “hallway bingo,” for instance. Residents sit in the doorways of their apartments and the activity director calls numbers from the central lobby, while nursing aides run up and down the hallway to relay the numbers. It’s actually pretty funny to walk through the building and hear cries of “G-53” or “I-19” echoing down the halls! The community has also taken advantage of the beautiful spring weather to host outdoor concerts, inviting a favorite musician to play from the community’s back porch while residents sit — 6 feet apart — and enjoy the music from the grounds below.
The community also devised a unique way to recognize Mother’s Day, a special holiday we couldn’t miss celebrating. Residents were stationed inside at windows on the first floor with flowers and cookies. Family members checked in outside the front door, received a gift of beautifully decorated cookies created by our dining and activity staff, and were given instructions about how to locate the window where Mom was waiting. Families could enjoy the treats and talk as long as they liked. After being separated for so long, family members loved this chance to connect.
Villagio of Bradford Village’s independent living is made up of individual cottage homes and a central community center. Residents would normally enjoy meals and socialize in the community dining room, but when that area had to close, staff created a drive-thru for meal pick up. Not only do residents get delicious meals, but it’s become a place to share notes and cards, recognize birthdays, and pass out flowers and treats. Staff also recently decorated the community club car with a grass table skirt and leis to create a mobile tiki bar and delivered margaritas and lemonade door-to-door, Beach Boys music blaring. Residents are taking advantage of our large outdoor spaces and have found opportunities to connect with each other, like organizing a resident-led parking lot exercise group or driveway happy hours.
One of the biggest benefits of living in a senior community is the relationships residents form with staff and each other. At any time, residents have ample opportunities to connect, stay active, and have fun. And, right now, it makes the challenges of social distancing — and the strain of being isolated — just a little easier.