How Lucky We Are
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According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal Isolating the Elderly Is Bad for Their Health, “living alone without social interaction is implicated in higher rates of Cardio vascular disease, worsening dementia and Alzheimer’s and shorter lives.” They were referring to the impact that quarantining due to Covid-19 restrictions has caused.
We know first-hand what a difficult task it is to protect Residents from the Coronavirus and not isolate them to the point of causing physical and mental harm. Our Residents had to stay away from family and friends and eat alone in their apartments. Amy Falvo, the Director of Acacia Village had to make some challenging decisions. The recommendations and mandates being handed down by New York State and the CDC were changing almost daily. Sometimes even twice in a day. But, we never lost sight of the fact that the isolation could cause problems for our Residents.
Brainstorming meetings were held to come up with ideas that would keep people entertained and healthy. Activities were still planned every week. For example bingo which is one of the favorite activities that we offer was modified, so we could continue. Chris and Taylor, our activity coordinators added additional bingo times to the calendar to keep the attendees to the maximum of 10 people as mandated by the state. The bingo cards were laminated, so they could be disinfected between games. Exercise classes were treated in a similar fashion chairs and weights to be disinfected between classes. We started showing movies daily so we could limit the audience to a maximum of 10.
Pre-Covid we normally had a coffee/tea hour every Wednesday afternoon where Residents could enjoy a cookie or snack and coffee. Carts were taken around on Wednesday afternoons, stopping at every door with cookies. Additionally on other days we delivered wine or beer or lemonade with a light snack. Office staff pitched in to help deliver the day’s treat.
Although we did expect everyone to eat in their apartments we did start delivering dinners to everyone nightly and waived the normal $2 room service charge. Residents also had the option of picking up a breakfast or lunch to be taken back to their apartments to enjoy. Neighbors would run into each other while picking up the mail or getting their lunch and have a socially distanced chat. We understood that this was still difficult for a group of people that are used to being so socially active, but just think about the limited options that people who still live alone in their homes have. They may not have anyone to make a delicious meal or to have a conversation with.
Yes, we are the mask police. We do remind everyone to please wear your mask. That is why our wonderful staff here continued to show up to work every day healthy! The staff is periodically tested for the virus. Not because it was mandated, (we were not included in the list mandated by the State), but because we all want to be sure that the 150 people that we love who reside at our Village stay healthy.
As businesses enter the different opening phases in New York State, we continue to open up more things here at Acacia Village as well. Visitors are once again allowed, as long as they are not from a restricted state on Governor Cuomo’s list. They do still need to be screened at the front desk. Resident grocery shopping trips were added back into the schedule again. Of course we have to limit the number being allowed on the bus to keep them at the appropriate distance. A new reservation program was started where neighbors can eat in the community room with their friends while still keeping distanced to comply with the rules.
We will continue to be diligent as our housekeeping staff keeps disinfecting the hallways multiple times a day. We will continue to be the mask police reminding everyone to wear their masks. screening anyone who enters our building for an elevated temperature and symptoms will continue. Yes, we feel that we are very lucky here to report that we have had no positive cases of Covid-19 at The Neighborhoods at Acacia Village.
“One of the joys of being here is the comfort of being amongst friends.”
- Tom Smedley, Acacia Village Resident