Two executives participated in a task force to create strategies and tactics to maintain safety and reinvigorate lifestyles for older adults living in age-restricted communities and apartments.
Atlanta, GA, September 8, 2020 – No business segment has been more directly affected by COVID-19 than the senior living industry. To create a path forward, representatives of The Arbor Company joined a group of industry leaders to create strategies and tactics to help senior living operations emerge from the challenges imposed by the pandemic.
Laura Ellen Christian, senior vice president of Engagement and Dementia Training, and Kris Frankel, regional vice president of Engagement and Dementia Training, were part of an effort by thought leaders from around North America — providers of housing and services for older adults — who crafted a white paper, “Creating a path towards the next normal in senior living,” by the International Council on Active Aging COVID-19 Senior Living Task Force.
“At a time like this, it is important for the industry to come together and share what we’ve learned for the benefit of all older adults during this very difficult time,” said Frankel.
“I’m very proud of the resourcefulness and creativity of the team members in our communities, in devising ways to keep residents active and engaged, while keeping safety top of mind,” said Christian.
Teams at Arbor Company senior living communities have taken advantage of newly developed technology – the Eversound listening systems, which make it easier for residents to hear conversations and enjoy visits with family members and friends via video chats, window visits or outside connections at safe, physical distances.
“In addition to the joy that family visits bring, daily connections by staff with residents through themed carts (bringing activities and surprises to residents’ apartments) and hallway activities continue to create meaningful moments, all while promoting physical and mental stimulation,” said Christian.
In the first hour of the report’s release, more than 1,000 communities, along with public health groups such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization downloaded the report. The report offered insights that apply to a range of senior living options, such as active adult; independent living; assisted living; nursing; and memory care.
“Task force members suggested structural changes that could renew the value proposition of senior living at the same time organizations strive to ensure the health and well-being of residents, staff and family,” said task force organizer Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council on Active Aging.
Six strategies described in the white paper are: designing or redesigning exteriors and interiors of buildings to enable physical distancing and innovative service delivery; developing and supporting purpose-driven, caring, passionate staff; providing technology, such as telehealth portals, to increase connections, aid efficiency and optimize health; developing a culture of positive aging to support residents in staying as independent and engaged as possible; establishing trust through preparation for emergencies and unexpected events; and updating perceptions to reinforce the new value proposition of each type of senior living.
The ICAA COVID-19 Senior Living Task Force includes representatives of for-profit, not-for-profit and affordable housing organizations providing active-adult and independent living; continuing care/life plan communities; assisted living; long-term care; skilled nursing; and rehabilitation; along with representatives from the industry associations and the suppliers that support their work.