Is Assisted Living Safe Right Now?
Answering questions about assisted living, safety, and the COVID-19 vaccine.
Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is available to assisted living residents and staff, many families who have been considering assisted living for a loved one are wondering: is assisted living safe right now?
The answer is that assisted living can be a safer option for many seniors. Senior living communities that have excellent, routine controls in place and adhere to guidelines for social distancing, testing, and vaccination can provide a safer, healthier, and more fulfilling environment than many seniors may have on their own.
As we enter this new phase, learn more about:
- How assisted living communities can provide a safer environment
- Which seniors can benefit most from assisted living right now
- Helpful questions you can ask to determine how assisted living communities are managing safety and vaccination.
How can assisted living communities provide a safer environment?
- Safety is a way of life. Strict safety and sanitation protocols have been in place and part of the routine for nearly a year. While no system is perfect, these safety protocols are more comprehensive and consistent than those at home, where seniors may risk exposure from untested family members or helpers. This is especially important as “pandemic fatigue” has made many people more lax in their safety measures.
- Assisted living staff, residents, and essential caregivers are priority for receiving the vaccine. Vaccination of staff, residents, and “essential caregivers*” began at Sunnyside Manor on January 15, 2021. While we know that it will be some time before the vaccine reaches maximum effectiveness, we are now on a path to having increased protection from the vaccine.
- Continued testing and enhanced safety protocols. Assisted living continues to offer frequent, regular testing for your senior loved one and those your loved one may contact, including staff, fellow residents, and “essential caregivers.*”
At Sunnyside Manor, we adhere to all testing guidelines and safety protocols as directed by the NJ Department of Health. These safety protocols will remain in place throughout the vaccination process, and for as long as necessary to keep seniors and their families safe.
Which seniors can benefit most from assisted living right now?
- Seniors who have a condition that requires monitoring or may require urgent attention by a professional. With specialized staff available 24/7 to respond to health changes or any signs of difficulty, assisted living can be the best options for seniors with conditions that require consistent monitoring (such as CHF or diabetes). Consistent observation by responsive, trained staff can help keep minor issues from become big events that require hospitalization.
- Seniors with cognitive impairment. Assisted living provides a more protected environment for those who cannot socially distance themselves. Additionally, seniors with cognitive impairment may have difficulty communicating health changes to a caregiver. Trained staff who know residents and see them daily can respond proactively to health changes.
- Seniors who require assistance with day-to-day tasks that may be risky or difficult at home. For many seniors, tasks like bathing or cooking can become dangerous in the home. Or, these tasks may become so difficult to do alone that they are avoided altogether. Supportive services in assisted living help keep seniors safe and ensure that they have everything they need to maximize their independence and enjoyment.
- Seniors who are isolated at home. One of the great challenges of the pandemic for everyone – especially seniors – has been feelings of loneliness and isolation. Socialization is linked to better physical and mental health and overall wellbeing. Assisted living offers seniors opportunities to socialize more safely, with appropriate protocols in place.
What questions should I be asking assisted living communities about COVID safety?
Many families who have been delaying decisions about assisted living are cautiously preparing to move forward. Making the right choice now comes down to asking the right questions.
The questions below can help assess how communities have managed this challenging time.
- Who is tested and how often?
- What is the vaccine rollout plan for the community?
- How do you communicate with residents and their families when/if there is a positive resident or staff member?
- How have activities and dining been modified for social distancing?
- In the event of quarantine, how are you helping residents stay active and engaged?
- How are you handling visitation to keep people safe?
- How are positive cases managed?
With the vaccine rollout underway here at Sunnyside Manor, we are optimistic about the future, and committed to maintaining our comprehensive safety protocols. Please contact us with questions about assisted living safety, vaccine distribution for assisted living residents, and current senior living options. Our experts are always here to help.
*Essential caregivers are defined by the NJ Department of Health and may include family caregivers. Please contact us for details.
Learn More About Why Families Rely On Sunnyside Manor
Sunnyside Manor offers assisted living, memory support, and skilled nursing and rehabilitation. Learn more about Sunnyside Manor’s resources for caregivers. Whether you’re looking for short-term support or a longer-term plan, we are here to help. Begin with our “Getting Started” guide. Times have changed, and so have our admissions protocols. Please call us at 888-696-2052 to speak with a senior living expert.
Sunnyside Manor, located in Wall NJ, is the area’s premier senior living community. It features three distinctive neighborhoods: Independence ‘Plus’ Assisted Living, Recollections Memory Care and Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation.