Senior living communities have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. Does this mean it’s no longer safe for you or a loved one to live in one of these communities? Is it safer to stay in your current home or with an in-home caregiver instead of making the move?
There are arguments to be made for both options. However, before you make your final decision, here are some important points to consider.
Safety Measures at Senior Living Communities
Senior living communities - including Sugar Hill - have been quick to implement health and safety guidelines as they were issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).These types of communities have a long history of dealing with contagious outbreaks, such as flu and pneumonia, and that’s made it easier for them to implement these new safety guidelines.
What made COVID-19 such a special case was that very little was known about the disease when it first began making its way across the United States. Today, health officials and organizations are not only better informed, but understand the importance of staying up to date on new research related to the disease as it becomes available and adjusting safety measures accordingly.
Currently, most communities have, at minimum, implemented the following safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which are recommended by the CDC:
- Cancellation of all public or non-essential group activities and events.
- Increased frequency of the cleaning and disinfecting of all common areas and shared facilities.
- Requiring personal protective measures, such as face coverings, social distancing, and frequent hand-washing for residents and staff alike.
- Limitation of non-essential visitors.
- Daily employee health screenings.
Many communities now offer virtual tours and personalized, over-the-phone consultations with prospective residents. The truth is that the need for assisted living communities and skilled nursing care isn’t going to go away.
There’s even an argument to be made that the enhanced health and safety measures now in place have made senior living communities safer than ever before.
Evaluating the Safety of Your Current Home
When comparing the safety of a senior living community with your home or the home of a loved one, there are several key areas to evaluate:
- Visitors. How often are visitors coming to the residence who haven’t been screened for COVID-19 symptoms? Without regular health screenings, it’s impossible to know if a visitor may be harboring a COVID-19 infection.
- Transportation. Is there adequate, private transportation available that reduces contact with others instead of another transport method, like public transit? Public transit can increase the possibilities of exposure and infection.
- Essential services. Are you or your loved one able to get the basic necessities, such as groceries and toiletries, without being exposed to risk in busy grocery stores?
- Cleanliness and hygiene. Do you or your loved one have the physical and mental ability to keep up with regular deep cleaning of the home after a trip outside or a visit from friends and family? Regular cleaning and sanitizing can help prevent the spread of the virus.
- Level of isolation. If you or your loved one have been sheltering in place without visitors, it may be physically safe but mentally trying. While visitors are screened and/or restricted in senior living communities, many communities still allow residents to share common areas in small groups or while socially distant. Some are also now opening up to open-air, socially distant visitation monitored by staff.
When weighing your options, always include mental and physical health concerns, hygiene, care needs, maintenance and transportation issues in your evaluation. It can be easy to get hung up on a single one of these factors instead of considering them as a whole.
Personalized Choices in Unprecedented Times
It may be that there is no easy answer for yourself or a loved one when it comes to deciding on a move to a senior living community versus sheltering at home. For many, the advantages of living in a senior community outweigh the potential risks. After all, many seniors continue to be most vulnerable at home, especially when they live alone.
The choice you make will depend entirely on the health, welfare and personal living situation of yourself and your family. It is a decision that should be discussed at length and carefully considered.
Worry-Free Living in Wolfeboro
As you continue weighing your decision, take some time to discover what worry-free living looks like at Sugar Hill! Download our Cost of Living Comparison Guide to see if our community is right for you: