When the Covid-19 pandemic forced residents to isolate themselves in their rooms from March, many senior life activity programs ceased. But since then, healthcare providers across the country have proposed a series of methods to maintain the entertainment and participation of residents-as the pandemic intensifies, and this work becomes more and more important.
Before this pandemic started, senior living focused on upgrading the experience of residents to begin appealing to a baby boomer generation. Even though most senior living communities are only into measures for Covid-19 for a few weeks, the pressures and duration time could change the activities for residents for many years.
Recently, local coverage by the news is full of examples of how providers are getting creative. Some have been handing out ice cream and drinks from mobile cars, hallway parties, and even small events outside in the fresh air, also if the residents only get to observe.
Some providers have turned towards technology, such as Aegis Living’s YouTube channel called Aegis Live. There is an in-house production team that delivers programming to the residents three times a week to help with a normal activities schedule. Covid-19 is highlighting some advantages for smaller communities to enjoy, such as enjoying normalcy for daily activities.
From Senior Living to Production Company
When Aegis Living announced its Covid-19 infection control measures last month, the company needed new procedures to provide residents with a variety of daily activities.
Therefore, the provider began to organize corridor entertainment meetings to enable residents to socialize and participate in their music, games, and other activities at the door. Aegis also began to provide artwork to residents’ rooms to stimulate their creativity
Many senior life service providers are budgeting more time and money to construct these forward-looking plans, and re-enacting normal daily activities in case of sudden discovery will increase the burden. However, according to Aegis’s Vice President of Life Enrichment, Chris Corrigall, doing so is essential to help residents (even employees) avoid the emotional loss that can be created by social isolation.
But the provider also hopes to help residents stay in touch through digital programming-Corrigall has an idea. He previously worked at Crystal Cruises for more than 16 years, during which time he produced daily in-house performances for luxury cruise companies.
A typical episode will last between 30 minutes to 40 minutes and based on jokes, the theme of the day, music, fitness programs, trivia, residents’ birthdays, health reminders, and daily confirmations. Although the show is not a real live broadcast, residents can follow them and distribute a single-page handout in the morning of the episode.
As of April 10, Aegis has uploaded nine episodes to YouTube. Most residents who watch the show watch the show on a tablet, while others watch the show on their mobile phones.
Other providers are using residents’ TVs to maintain their participation. Country’s senior vice president and COO, Meredith Mills, stated that Country Meadows retirement community has its dedicated TV channel for broadcasting recorded fitness videos, Sunday church services, dedication and meditation, and various activities and lectures.
Aegis is not the only company producing programs for senior residents. In the long run, this is an online platform that combines people looking for seniors with local placement agents and also creates its own YouTube program called Curtain Up. Every weekday, a new episode will be broadcast on YouTube, featuring the performances of well-known professional actors, singers, and comedians.
Participating residents and employees can chat with performers in real-time or ask questions through the YouTube chat function.
To ensure that these clips are viewable by senior residents, Seniorly is working with participating directors, event directors, and coordinators in the community.
Parking Lots and Hallways
Larger communities may have to be more creative and attract workers, who often focus on different areas to help them participate and carry out activities. Still, residents cannot gather in larger groups.
Ebenezer, a provider, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is making residents active in various indoor activities, including singing, indoor sports, travel ice cream sundaes and happy hour trolleys, and corridor birthday parties. Ebenezer is part of Fairview Health Services, a non-profit health system in Minneapolis.
Several providers also took the celebration outside. These include Ebenezer, who received a pastor on Good Friday and provided special non-denominational services to all its residents. The priest did not bring people together but watched the outgoing sacrament led by the priest from the window.
Some providers also threw outdoor parades to residents. For example, “Aegis” recently helped organize a “birthday parade” with the family and friends of a 97-year-old resident-all within a safe distance.
The Woodland-based Avanti Senior Living Center has held car parades in three of its six operating communities. In these incidents, residents sat outside and watched their families and neighbors drive decorative cars with signs of encouragement.
6 Feet Apart
Although customized programs such as Aegis Live and Curtain Up can help when residents get primarily confined to their residential units, some providers do not isolate residents from bedrooms. This is the case with some greenhouse project organizations. These organizations operate smaller and more populated communities. Some people think that these communities may be more suitable for dealing with diseases such as pandemics.
Such a community is SunPorch in Smith County, a greenhouse project-related community located in Smith Center, Kansas, with two 11 residents on its campus providing assistance for life and memory care. SunPorch’s director, Julie Troy said that here, residents can still participate in one-to-one activities that keep a certain distance from the society, such as manicure, games, pet visits, handicrafts, exercise, Video chat, and hair care.
That is not to say that SunPorch in Smith County has not taken preventive measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. During the pandemic, the community banned any visitors, except for necessary medical personnel. Moreover, the facility keeps reminding residents of the risks that Covid-19 poses to the elderly. However, choosing to provide residents with the option to move makes it easier to stay in touch with them.
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