How Memory Care Communities Were Impacted by Covid
Amy Angelo of CarePatrol recently spoke with our partners at Arden Courts and Atria Senior Living in our Memory Care Fireside Chat.
One of the most timely questions was around the impact of the pandemic, as most companies needed to quickly pivot their business model in one way or another.
Joanna Mansfield of Atria Senior Living reports, “Covid actually set us up to be more efficient and effective as providers. I recognized the fact that we have to understand how social deprivation impacts somebody's cognitive status and how to appropriately provide redirection.”
“One of the big things we struggled with initially was that Assisted Living residents were able to express that they didn't feel well, that maybe they were starting to experience a cough, so we had to come up with different assessment tools so we could detect any presence of the virus without having those verbal prompts. Just as with general malaise, fatigue, loss of appetite, etc., and so we implemented a tool throughout all of our memory care neighborhoods where our staff were going in with a series of questions to evaluate ‘does this individual potentially have covid; could they have been exposed, is it just a general flu, or are they just struggling with having to be confined to their apartment.’ We also looked at what additional interventions were needed to put in place to address those.”
Paul Vranesic from Arden Courts chimed in as well. “I like to say that we became ninja warriors and we had to contort ourselves in all kinds of different ways to just simply care for our residents and meet the demands of their families and just survive. It continues to present itself as a challenging time, but I have a lot of hope that our industry really learned a lot from it and we're ready to move forward. In many of our communities, families are coming back and we want families to come back. We missed having that daily interaction with our families just as much as our residents miss their family members.
“We were able to do a lot of different things during the pandemic that were special moments, one of which was a program called our Hearts Desire program, which is kind of like the Make a Wish program. We typically select one resident and make a dream or a wish come true. We all took that on and started to do that across the board just as a way to have some fun and make our residents feel special in these very lonely and dire times. Those are the types of lessons that we will continue to move forward with and continue to spread the good word that the senior living industry is back and we are here to stay.”