If you have merely thought of turning on the news or picking up a newspaper lately,
you have undoubtedly seen tons of stories about COVID-19, the viral disease also known as the “novel coronavirus.” If you’re like me, these stories have quickly caused you to think about your family and loved ones and how this coronavirus might impact you.
And at Arbor, that’s exactly the thought process we have gone through when also thinking about the residents and staff who make up our senior living communities.
While this coronavirus sounds scary and there are concerns about how it is spreading around the world, at the end of the day it is a contagious virus and, thankfully, we have a strong history of responding to contagious viruses and infections in senior living communities. From an operational perspective, we will treat COVID-19 just like we do for things like the flu and norovirus.
How Arbor Company communities prepare for contagious viruses
We follow guidelines from the CDC and state and local departments of health when we think about our preparedness for viruses like this. Here are some steps we take to prevent the spread of any virus in all Arbor Company communities:
- We focus on keeping our common areas as clean and sanitized as possible to prevent the spread of germs.
- Our kitchens follow NSF-approved dishwashing techniques.
- All staff members are trained in techniques to prevent the spread of germs specific to their individual roles in serving residents in our communities. Additionally, we ask staff who are sick to stay at home until they are no longer contagious.
- Many Arbor Company communities use specialized electrostatic sprayers that we use routinely to disinfect common area surfaces using an EPA-approved sanitizing solution. We currently have these devices on-order for any communities that don’t already have them, and they actually use an innovative technology (I wish I had one for my house!).
- We ask that residents who are sick to stay in their apartments or go to the hospital for further medical evaluations.
- Particularly in Assisted Living and Memory Care, our resident care teams are very tuned into the health and wellness of every resident. At the earliest signs of two or more people experiencing a similar illness and symptoms, we take steps to enact extra infection control procedures, including limiting non-essential activities in the community and notifying families and visitors.
What else we’re doing
The vibrant life that our residents have come to know and love in our communities continues on every day. And behind the scenes, we have already started making precautionary operational adjustments in light of the current COVID-19 worldwide situation, in addition to our everyday procedures listed above:
- We are increasing the frequency of the sanitization of common areas.
- We are adding more touchless hand sanitizer stations in our communities.
- The touch screen visitor check-in system at our front desks now asks a question regarding recent international travel. This helps us to monitor people entering the community who may have been at a higher risk of exposure outside of the United States.
- We have ordered extra personal protective equipment supplies, such as masks and gloves, to have on hand in the event there are national shortages of these types of items.
How you can help
If you have a loved one who lives in an Arbor Company community or any other senior living community, you can help prevent the spread of viruses like the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. It is important that you avoid visiting the community if you feel sick or have other symptoms of an illness. And if you have traveled outside of the United States within the past 30 days, it is best to avoid contact with seniors for a few weeks after your return.
These sound like simple precautions, but they honestly go a long way in preventing the spread of diseases like this.
What we’re doing for residents and families
At The Arbor Company, we focus on giving our residents and families proactive and thorough communication, especially about situations like coronavirus. We are committed to updating residents and families with any changes to life in our communities. And if anyone has specific questions, we ask that they reach out to their specific community’s executive director by calling or visiting the community directly.
While coronavirus is a worldwide situation and likely to be an ongoing concern for a long time, I am thankful to be a part of a company like Arbor that is so committed to keeping everyone safe.