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How Do You Know A Senior Community Is Safe In The Covid-era?

September 21, 2020

The safety of our loved ones is always our highest concern, and that has been magnified during the COVID Era. It’s difficult to see through all of the conflicting information being shared to determine if it’s fact or opinion. As a Caregiver, it’s important that you are arming yourself with the information you need to make the best decisions for your loved one and family.

Because of so many unknowns and fear, many Seniors who are truly in need of higher levels of care have delayed moving into a Senior Living Community setting since the outbreak of COVID. Now that many states, including Florida, are lifting a lot of the lockdown protocols, family Caregivers are trying to determine whether or not it’s the right time to move a loved one in, and how to determine if a community is safe.

Here are 7 questions you can ask the Community to determine safety and help you make an educated decision for your loved one:

1. What is their testing protocol? 
This will vary depending on the state mandate (if there is one) and the community itself. Are they testing residents and staff consistently or just on a need-to basis if there are symptoms being shown?

2. What are their visitation protocols?
As more states start lifting the visitation ban on Senior Living Communities, it’s important that you understand what the rules and regulations are. Not just so you know if/when YOU can visit, but also to determine if safety measures will continue to be followed. In Florida, every community is able to create their own protocols for visitation. Some things to determine: is there a limit to the number of visitors a day/week? Are they allowed throughout the community or just a specific visitation area? Are temp checks and screening done beforehand?

3. What are their Caregiver/Staff safety protocols?
Dig into the training and monitoring of the safety protocols that staff have to follow. Are masks being worn and enforced at all times? Are there temp checks before shifts, hand washing routines, etc.

4. What is the Community’s Caregiver to resident ratios?
This is important information for so many reasons, but especially when it comes to COVID safety. If Caregivers are spread too thin, it’s difficult for them to monitor resident safety in terms of socially distancing, wearing masks in common areas, etc.

5. How many positive cases have they had? When was the last one?
This helps paint a bigger picture of the situation. That said, make sure you are asking when the last case was and how it was managed. For example: if a community had a handful of cases but not since May 2020, that is a major fact that should be considered.

6. What are the communication protocols with resident’s families?
Things are rapidly changing and it’s important that families of residents are informed. Are families notified when safety protocols change for staff or residents? What if a resident or staff member tests positive for COVID?

7. What are the community’s activity and dining protocols?
Socialization and engagement are some of the biggest advantages of being in a Senior Living Community. That said, we want to make sure they are being done in a safe way. What kinds of activities are currently on the calendar? Is there social distancing and/or masks being worn? Is there communal dining? How is that being managed?

Part of our job at Sunways is to be asking all of these questions proactively and getting that information to our clients. Managing this process is overwhelming for so many reasons. We’re a free service to families, so there’s nothing to lose by having us serve as your advocate and guarantee you’re making the best decision. Reach out to us and let us know how we can help!

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