Programs: Residents Participate in Pen-Pal Program and Socially-Distanced Bingo
Residents of assisted living facilities and nursing homes are feeling the full impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak as they are some of the most at-risk members of the population. Village Concepts of Chehalis, which houses just under 100 seniors, is taking several precautions to keep their residents safe, but still connected.
“It’s definitely not our normal schedule. We are in quarantine, so all of our residents are staying in their apartments and in their homes and we are serving them from there,” said Village Concepts Director of Operations Danie Monaghan.
Gov. Jay Inslee placed limitations on visitors to assisted living facilities and Monaghan said they are adhering to his guidelines and allowing “window visits” with the residents’ friends and family.
“We help coordinate a first-floor window and families can sit there so they can still see each other and talk that way,” Monaghan said.
Village Concepts has a pen-pal program that allows kids who are out of school right now to write letters to their local seniors and the seniors get to write back. Monaghan said that the pen-pal program helps a lot with keeping their residents engaged and in high spirits.
“The only caveat is end-of-life care and the governor has made an adjustment for end-of-life care. If somebody is on hospice and it looks as though passing away is imminent — not from COVID-19 but from anything — then of course family and hospice nurses are all allowed to be there as long as they need to be,” said Monaghan.
Monaghan said they do a happy hour and bring a cart door-to-door and try to incorporate as much social interaction in the senior’s day as they can.
“We are keeping in mind the social distancing thing so if we do bingo we have everybody come to a little table at their door and we sit at the end of the hallway calling out numbers. There is still interaction,” Monaghan.
When the COVID-19 outbreak began, staff ordered enough supplies and they have not run out of anything yet and said that family members that may have a couple of extra bottles of hand sanitizer have been donating supplies when they can. Village Concept’s staff have gotten used to the extra cleanings, Monaghan said.
“We are keeping everybody in high spirits and yeah, it’s an inconvenience but it’s more important to keep everyone safe,” said Monaghan.