Caring.com Study Highlights Steps Senior Living Communities Are Taking to Protect Their Residents

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Older Adults Face an Increased Risk from COVID-19, Most Communities Are Taking the Vital Steps to Protect Seniors

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Caring.com, a highly-regarded senior care referral service and the nation’s leading site for senior care reviews, has published an in-depth report on what senior living communities are doing to protect their residents from COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus disease. Due to the increased risk to older adults, it’s difficult to ensure that seniors who need daily care are also kept as safe from the coronavirus as possible. This report examines the precautions senior living communities are taking, when your loved one may actually be safer in a senior living community, and alternative care options for those who don’t need daily attention and care.

According to a March 26th report by the CDC on the case outcomes from COVID-19, adults between the ages of 75 and 84 have a fatality rate that ranges between 4% and 11%. For adults ages 85 and older, the fatality rate is even worse ranging from 10% to 27%. For this reason, it’s vital for older adults to practice social distancing and take as many precautions as possible. However, many need daily care, and those who are not currently in senior living communities may face more risk from their loved ones or other caregivers if there aren’t proper precautions in place. Additionally, there’s the risk that primary caregivers may get sick and not be able to provide the care needed.

Caring.com’s report finds that seniors who need daily care should carefully consider their options, including senior living communities that are taking the proper steps to protect their residents, as a community is often the best place for seniors to receive the care they need. The report details the steps that many communities are taking, so that prospective residents can identify communities that are proactively ensuring their residents’ safety.

To access the complete report, please visit https://www.caring.com/senior-living/assisted-living-and-covid-19/

Proper Precautions for Senior Living Communities to Limit the Spread of COVID-19

Visitor restrictions

Many senior living communities are currently instructing any would-be visitors not to enter and to postpone their visit if they have recently been sick or are showing any signs of illness. Anyone who has been exposed to someone who is sick, whether with coronavirus or another illness, within the last two weeks is also being asked not to enter most senior living communities at this time. In some areas, communities are not allowing any visitors at all. Communities that are allowing visitors are requiring all people to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer immediately upon entering the community. The goal is to eliminate the risk of visitors bringing coronavirus or any other type of immune-weakening illness into the community.

Staff are being instructed to stay home if they have symptoms of any type of illness

In addition to restricting visitors who may be sick, staff members are also instructed to stay home if they are exhibiting any symptoms of coronavirus or the cold, flu, or any other illness. In most communities, staff members spend time with many different residents throughout the day. If a staff member is sick, the likelihood of them passing the illness along to multiple recipients is high. Thus, it is especially important that staff do not work when there’s any chance that they may be sick and could introduce an illness to the community.

Postponing activities and limiting access to communal spaces

Because residents live in apartment-style units and tend to eat, relax, and congregate in communal areas, it can be difficult to implement social distancing in senior care communities. To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, some communities are postponing or altering group activities for the foreseeable future and closing common areas or restricting access to these areas to limited hours and limited residents at a time. This gives staff more time to adequately clean the areas.

Enhanced cleaning procedures

While senior living communities always need to maintain cleanliness, right now, communities are adhering to more strict cleaning procedures. The CDC recommends that long-term care communities frequently clean any and all frequently-touched surfaces and shared areas with hospital-grade disinfectants. If communities are choosing to leave common areas open for residents, they should be especially diligent in disinfecting surfaces like couches and shared exercise equipment multiple times throughout the day.

Resident assessments

Communities are regularly screening residents for any symptoms of coronavirus, specifically respiratory distress. Daily screening can help communities catch any case of coronavirus early and prevent further community spread. In addition to daily health screenings, communities are scheduling regular hand washings throughout the day.

ABOUT CARING.COM

With millions of website visitors, Caring.com is a leading senior care resource and referral service for family caregivers seeking information and support as they care for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones. Founded in 2007 and applying cutting-edge technology to its social mission, Caring provides caregivers extensive senior care information and comprehensive senior living and senior care directories for the United States. Caring.com is also the #1 site for consumer reviews of senior living and in-home care providers, with about 250,000 reviews currently published and thousands added every month. Through a toll-free referral line at (855) 923-2443, Caring’s Family Advisors across the nation help families and seniors research and connect to the most appropriate senior care services for their specific situations. For more information about our organization and services, please visit http://www.caring.com/about and join with Caring on Facebook.

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Donnie Dinh
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