Community Living in the Time of Covid-19

Community Living in the Time of Covid-19 

If you’ve been considering moving your loved one into a Memory Care community but have been putting it off due to Covid-19 concerns, here is some good advice. In a recent article written by Andrea Cooper and published on the website Next Avenue, the author explains the pros and cons. Turns out there are more pros than cons.

Even in normal times, moving a parent into Memory Care can be fraught with emotion. But in the time of Covid-19, that decision becomes even more complicated. In the best of times, “changes in routine can be disorienting and a new home is a big change, especially for a parent with dementia,” Cooper writes. And while the numbers of deaths and outbreaks in nursing homes are scary, Cooper explains there is a critical difference between nursing homes and Memory Care / Assisted Living communities.

“About 45% of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have occurred in long-term care facilities, according to The Kaiser Family Foundation,” says Cooper. “Most of the widely reported outbreaks have been in nursing homes, which differ substantially from assisted living communities.

In nursing homes, residents require care from a licensed nurse; some may be bed-bound or have feeding tubes,” Cooper continues. “Assisted living residents, in comparison, can live somewhat independently, but need help with daily tasks such as hygiene, meal preparation, medication management, and transportation.”

Memory Care communities are dedicated buildings or wings of buildings that offer all the assisted living supports, but with added specialized services for those with dementia in a secured perimeter environment. But besides the risk of infection, there is another item to consider. Cooper writes:

“Concerns about moving into assisted living in 2020 go beyond whether residents may contract coronavirus. There’s also the issue of being able to see your parent after move-in.”

For the first few months of the U.S. pandemic outbreak, there were almost no Assisted Living communities allowing visitors. Today (in September of 2020), many are beginning to allow them, if safe guidelines are followed. At Sydney Creek Memory Care in San Luis Obispo, for example, family members can call and make an appointment to see their loved one. They meet in outside courtyards with distancing and masks, or with a plexiglass screen between them.

While your concerns about moving your parent into communal living are well founded, there are still many good reasons to place your parent in a reputable Memory Care community—even during Covid-19. Here are some things to consider as you begin the search. Here’s Cooper again:

“Before the pandemic, visiting potential assisted living communities was a smart way to help choose one. But in-person tours are rare right now, of course. So, get a virtual tour via Facetime or Zoom with the opportunity to ask the facilities’ managers questions by phone.”

Today, many places are opening back up for limited tours using safe guidelines. Sydney Creek is one of them. You can schedule a zoom tour, or a limited in-person tour. And you can get all your questions answered in a simple phone call. From Cooper’s article, here is a list of good questions to ask:

What are your protocols for testing residents and staff for coronavirus?

What safety protocols are in place to prevent COVID-19 from spreading?

What are you doing to engage residents in activities?

For more information, please call 805-543-2350.

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Caring for a loved one with Dementia or Alzheimer's is emotionally challenging—as is the decision to move them to a Memory Care facility. The Village at Sydney Creek is here to assist you with this transition. Our community in San Luis Obispo, California provides a knowledgeable staff and the necessary resources to make this step as smooth as possible—logistically, mentally, and emotionally.

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