Are Senior Living Communities Safe During COVID-19?

With this week’s news about New Jersey and New York businesses mostly opening up to full capacity, what does that mean for adult living communities?

Questions persisted throughout the pandemic with concerns about the safety of senior living communities and leaving their loved ones in someone else’s hands. We know these are not easy decisions and we thank all families who gave us their trust. More than a year later, we remain vigilant, secure, and forward thinking to ensure our Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care residents are receiving extraordinary care and the services they require to stay healthy and strong.

As we progress toward a return to normalcy we’ve laid out our top areas of focus about safety within our communities to improve the residents overall well-being – which you may find to be congruous among many senior living entities.

CDC Guidelines

Senior living communities closely follow all guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health. We monitor these guidelines at Chelsea, which are changing as more people become vaccinated and make adjustments as needed. Because the CDC serves as America’s health protection agency, it has taken the lead in determining what is and isn’t safe when it comes to COVID-19 protocols. Although other people may provide input, the CDC guidelines take precedence, particularly when it comes to wearing masks and social distancing. At Chelsea, we continue to stay on top of this, minute-by-minute.

Visitor Policy

This depends on the COVID-19 Activity Level Index (CALI) score for each county. We’ve used this barometer at Chelsea to determine visitation availability. We’re allowing visitors when the score is low in that particular county where the community resides.

Although people need to be surrounded by their loved ones during challenging times, families have acknowledged to us their understanding for having limited or prohibited access, at times. When these older adults are left in our hands, we treat them like family and their health and safety are always our top priority.

Any person entering the community must take measures to protect residents. This includes wearing masks, practicing social distancing, washing hands, and being tested. Senior Living communities require these measures to keep your loved ones safe, so all visitors need to comply fully when there.

Group Size

Seniors find the transition to an Independent Living or Assisted Living community is easier when there are people there who have similar interests. Vaccinated residents now have the benefit of returning to group activities and going back to cocktail hour.

Chelsea introduced a group system, known as pods, that we continue to use where residents are seated with the same residents during meals. This helps limit exposure.

Early in the pandemic, senior living communities switched to a door-to-door meal plan which gave residents the comfort of eating in their own rooms, something that residents can still request.

Outside Events

While the CDC recently lifted outdoor mask-wearing for the vaccinated population, we’re recommending that our residents wear masks around people who are not vaccinated yet. Our residents are back to enjoying our outdoor patios and lounges with the sun gifting us with warm weather this Spring.

Although some appointments and trips cannot be postponed, any elective travel is discouraged. Staff and family members of residents are also asked to minimize unnecessary travel to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Quick Action

If a resident or staff member comes down with COVID-19, the senior living community stands ready to take quick action to minimize the spread. All residents, visitors, and staff members undergo regular health monitoring to catch cases quickly. If any person within the community tests positive, staff members communicate this information to the residents, family members, and staff.

Individuals living in Assisted Living or Independent Living communities need to ensure staff members put the residents’ health and safety first. Employees must remain proactive to ensure the virus doesn’t make its way into the residence and spread from person to person. This involves multiple steps, including adhering to CDC guidelines and ensuring every person who enters the community or resides there does the same. The community must implement protocols and measures to keep residents safe and healthy. In addition, they need to remain in constant contact with the residents, their loved ones, and the staff.

While vaccination efforts have ramped up, and more of the population is protected against COVID-19, we are going to continue putting the health and safety of our residents first.

Looking for an Assisted Living or Independent Living community for you or a loved one? Call us today to schedule an appointment, 1 (877) 243-5732.


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