updated December 2020

Guide to this FAQ

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When are you getting the vaccine?

We are excited that our residents and staff are among the first in the nation to get vaccinated, providing an immense sense of relief for current residents’ families, as well as families looking for a more supportive communal living environment for their loved one.

[Covid and Assisted Living: Getting the Vaccine First Creates Safe Environment]

Are there still restrictions in place?

We continue to follow MA, CT and NH state-issued guidelines and remain focused on the health and well-being of our residents as our number one priority:

  • Family visitation guidelines differ between the states. Please refer to our individual community “Visitor Guide” webpages to schedule your visit, or call for details.
  • Residents may leave and re-enter our communities as they wish. As this population is the most vulnerable to any illness, we continue to communicate the importance of minimizing their exposure and not risking the safety of other residents.
  • We have installed plexiglass at Reception Desks and have a new digital sign-in process for visitors to avoid the use of paper and pens.
  • We have safely opened up our dining rooms and community spaces, while promoting face masks, hand washing and physical distancing.
  • We are providing in-house podiatrist services with safety guidelines and protocols in place.
  • We continue to facilitate physician Telehealth appointments for residents, as requested.

Can residents leave the community?

Yes. You may take your loved one out for an appointment or a visit.

  • We ask that you follow public health directives to contact us within 48 hours if you become symptomatic, so that we can assist with contract tracing.
  • We recommend that residents continue to have supplies delivered (via Amazon, Instacart, etc.) whenever possible vs. shopping in the greater community.
  • Residents and staff will continue to have a health screen every day, including taking a temp; If any resident is off baseline or not feeling well, we will strongly encourage them to stay home.

Is the dining room open?

Yes. We continue to be focused on offering a positive and social dining experience for our residents.

We have implemented changes to adhere to physical distancing, including furniture layout, setup of meals, and meal times to offer multiple seatings. Please keep in mind, if a resident feels more comfortable not eating in the dining room, we can provide meal tray service to their apartment.

Since the start of the pandemic, we have served hot nutritious meals featuring favorite recipes from our Brain Healthy Cooking menu including fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean meats and seafood. The foods we serve have potent antioxidants and nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties that boost immunity and reduce inflammation. It is heart healthy, great for seniors managing diabetes, and proven to boost overall cognitive health.

Experts say during times of stress, eating well is one of the things that helps us stay healthy and boosts our immune system. Residents very much look forward to mealtime — familiar foods, warm nourishment, and sense of normalcy around mealtime is bringing comfort to them. Kudos to our dining team for continuing to serve excellent meals with excellent service under these trying times.

What about social activities?

A variety of small group programs allow for plenty of opportunities for engagement while maintaining physical distancing. It has certainly been a challenge to safely schedule the things we took for granted before, such as entertainment and community celebrations. We are managing it with creative room use and scheduling, space management, and the enthusiastic assistance of our wonderful residents who are resilient and positive in the face of adversity.

What about physical activity?

Our residents have access to all types of movement from walking to gardening, to exercise classes and dancing.

Is the in-house salon open?

Yes. Please contact the community directly for hours and to schedule an appointment for your loved one.

Are you allowing new residents to move in?

Yes! We can accommodate seniors who have a need for a more supportive living arrangement. Assisted Living offers a particularly safe option now as we are among the first in the nation to be vaccinated. Visit our Move-In Guidelines webpage for detailed information.

Throughout the pandemic we have worked with families and our Professional Referral Partners to ensure a smooth transition into one of our communities while safeguarding everyone’s health. We continue to follow our stringent safety measures. Learn about our move-in process, and protocols that protect the health and safety of of our entire community.

Emotional Well-Being

What are you doing to keep residents engaged and active?

We have always made resident “Quality of Life” our top priority. Quality of Life goes beyond physical safety and health – it speaks to the importance of social interaction, personal dignity and just plain feeling engaged in life. Obviously, physical distancing has impacted all of our lives. In this difficult environment our team members have made every effort to keep residents engaged through exercise, entertainment, outdoor walks, and personal interaction. As state-mandated restrictions lifted, we offered more and more social and fitness programming opportunities.

We have not forgotten the importance of caring for our residents as social beings, and we continue to do our very best to boost their spirits. Family support and participation has been key to creating most of the best moments of these last few months as our “good news page” highlights!

How is your staff handling this?

Our team continues to work diligently, providing the very best care and services for our residents that we can under difficult circumstances spanning many months. We are so proud of our staff who live our Right Values every single day, every hour. They show determination, compassion and courage as they come to work to fight this pandemic knowing they might be putting themselves and their own families at risk.

So many families have sent along words of support and love over this very long year. Thank you! We share these beautiful messages with our whole team – they are so much appreciated during this challenging time. The understanding, patience and support of our residents and families means more than we can adequately express.

Precautions

How do you ensure food prep is safe?

As with the rest of our buildings, kitchens are cleaned, disinfected and sanitized constantly. Food prep is done with the utmost care following universal precautions. For the duration of the pandemic we will continue to use a special wash for fresh fruits and vegetables that offers additional protection from the coronavirus. We are also very careful unloading deliveries; everything is dropped off outside to minimize contact with delivery personnel. Finally, all of our chefs and cooks are Serv Safe certified.

What is your cleaning regimen?

Our universal infection control practices have always included proper hand washing, physical distancing and infection control training for all employees. We continue to:

  • Frequently disinfect high-touch areas like doorknobs, elevator buttons, faucets and handrails with CDC approved antibacterial/germicidal cleaning materials
  • Adhere to our enhanced cleaning regimen of high-traffic common areas such as dining rooms and activity spaces
  • Provide thorough housekeeping services in every apartment.
  • Thoroughly deep-clean and sanitize apartments prior to a new resident moving in
  • Thoroughly deep-clean and sanitize apartments of current residents moving back home to the community following a hospitalization

What are you doing in regards to HVAC and air flow?

We have several systems in place to ensure sufficient, clean air flow:

  • Each SLR community has an ERE makeup air system, which takes fresh air from outside and circulates it with the air inside the building to ensure proper air circulation.
  • Filters are changed regularly on all HVAC systems at all SLR communities to maintain air quality.
  • All vacuums have HEPA filters in them to ensure efficiency standard of air filters.

Handling Coronavirus Cases

How do you handle suspected or positive cases?

Visit our Covid protocols webpage for a complete description of how we handle suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19 for residents and associates.

Who do you report to?

We report all suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19 to our local Boards of Health, as well as appropriate Public Health state agencies, including:

  • MA – Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Department of Public Health
  • NH – NH Department of Health and Human Services
  • CT – CT Department of Public Health

These agencies are responsible for tracking and reporting data to the general public, as well as conducting contact tracing.

We also provide updates via text and email to our residents and their extended families with news about testing, changes in protocols, and what we are doing to lift the spirits of residents and staff.

Can I get daily updates on Mom's health?

Yes. Our community nurses are in regular contact with the families of residents who are ill for any reason, symptomatic or who have tested positive for coronavirus. If your loved one becomes symptomatic, we will call you immediately.

Can we get updates on residents' conditions?

Yes and no. During this time of unprecedented crisis we ARE releasing information publicly on positive cases in our communities. However, we are prohibited from providing “Personal Health Information” about individual residents who have fallen ill due to coronavirus or any other reason, including their medical status or even their apartment number. HIPAA is a federal law that very specifically protects residents’ rights to privacy when it comes to their personal information. This law is still in effect even during this pandemic.

Can we get updates on staff members who get Covid?

Every staff member, every day, must pass a health screening (including a temperature check) at the beginning of their shift. If they exhibit any symptoms they are sent home with instructions to see their doctor and request testing, and follow the CDC mandated self-quarantine. Visit our Covid protocols webpage for how we handle suspected and confirmed cases.

We are bound by HIPAA not to release personal identifying information about associates, including health information, so we do not publicly disclose when a staff member is ill, other than to those individuals who were in close contact with the person.

Staff members in some of our communities did contract coronavirus during the course of this pandemic, some with symptoms and others asymptomatic.

What about testing?

Even with the vaccine being rolled out in our communities, we will continue with our rigorous community-wide testing program:

  • We have conducted numerous community-wide testing programs in many of our communities in recent months to establish a “baseline”.
  • Community-wide testing is now triggered after a reported positive case in a resident OR staff member. An initial round of testing is followed up every 10-14 days thereafter until there are no positive cases.
  • Our CT community is currently following a weekly testing program that exceeds state mandates.

We urge individual testing:

  • When we observe symptoms in residents, we notify families and physicians immediately and urge individual testing. It is now widely known that many seniors do not exhibit typical Covid-19 symptoms, such as fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. Instead, seniors are experiencing a range of symptoms, such as lack of appetite, feeling weak and fatigued, increased sleeping, confusion, vertigo, poor balance, increase in falls and dehydration. We are closely monitoring residents for ALL of these symptoms.
  • If a staff member fails the daily Covid screen or has any symptoms we urge immediate testing. We provide information to associates on available local resources for testing, including drive through testing programs.
  • Under current state policy in MA, NH and CT, only a government agency or physician may prescribe a test. We do not have the authority to obtain testing for an individual resident or staff member.

 

Do you separate positive and non-positive residents?

Yes and no. Although some nursing homes created “covid-positive” wings or floors during the height of the pandemic, in an assisted living community your apartment is your home furnished with your treasured personal belongings. We cannot move residents out of their personal home into someone else’s personal space. We do, however, coordinate with residents and family members on how to successfully quarantine if a resident has a Covid-19 diagnosis, or are symptomatic of Covid, and they must be cleared of and/or deemed “recovered from” Covid following a Test-Based or Symptom-Based Strategy following CDC guidelines prior to the end of the quarantine period. We also have an exception for residents who share an apartment suite. If one of them is symptomatic or tests positive for Covid, we would move them to a temporary fully furnished respite apartment as available for the duration of their quarantine.



Supplies

Do you have enough masks and gloves?

Yes, for now we have enough supplies. Like every other Assisted Living community, Nursing Home and Hospital in the country we are still working hard to source PPE (personal protective equipment, which includes gloves, masks, gowns, goggles, face shields, and booties). Senior Living Residences’ (SLR) Home Office staff is keeping track of inventory at all SLR communities. SLR has been successful at obtaining back-up supplies which they provide to communities if/when needed. Also, local public health agencies, including Boards of Health and Emergency Preparedness Departments have been very helpful providing resources to some of our SLR communities.

If you can donate any PPE, especially gowns right now, we would gladly accept it. So many have donated cloth masks to our communities (thank you!)

Are there any food shortages?

No. We want to reassure families that our food supply is in excellent shape. Although you may see empty shelves in your local grocery store, the commercial food supply chain which caters to businesses like ours ordering in bulk, has been less impacted by this crisis. We are lucky to be part of a nationwide group purchasing organization through our management company, Senior Living Residences, that provides us with plentiful options. Even with large meat processing plants hampered due to outbreaks of coronavirus, we are able to source all types of meat. Additionally, through our partnership with Baldor, a New England company that represents dozens of local farms, we will continue to have access to a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that change with the season. Farmers have been deemed essential workers.

Are there any issues with medications?

No, residents’s medications continue to be prescribed, filled and dropped off at our communities by local  pharmacies, or dropped off in filled weekly pill-packs by families. Many of our residents are on a medication management program and our Resident Care Department continues to provide daily reminders to take their medications at the right time, in the right doses. Some residents handle their medications independently, and we are checking in with them to ensure that they are receiving their medication refills on time.

Community-Specific Questions

Please call your community directly for answers to these questions

  • Can I bring dinner to my Mom?
  • Does the community have enough cloth masks / are we still accepting donations?
  • What is the best time to drop off supplies / packages for my loved one?
  • Who is the contact person to arrange a Zoom / Facetime meeting?

Credible Coronavirus Information & Resources