COVID-19 has changed the way we live our lives both irreversibly and beyond anything we could have imagined. In 2020, things we’d rarely given a second thought to previously – think vaccine development, lockdowns and face coverings – suddenly became a daily talking point. The pandemic has undoubtedly altered every facet of society, from personal habits right through to wider systemic changes.
Having been touched by the pandemic more than most other sectors, priorities for the senior living industry have naturally shifted – from the perspective of both families and communities themselves. Though compassionate care, great amenities and skilled staff members are still non-negotiable, features like infection control have become more vital than ever in a post-pandemic world.
Let’s take a look at the two key areas seniors and their family members are prioritizing in the search for a residential assisted living community in 2021.
A Focus on Healthcare
The seniors and families of 2021 are looking out for an increased emphasis on health and safety. The past year served as a stark reminder of the potential vulnerability of seniors in assisted living, and families are rightly seeking reassurance. More than ever before, residential assisted living facilities in Colorado with excellent infection control procedures are being promoted right to the top of their list. Though vaccinations are offering a light at the end of the tunnel, COVID-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future, and no one can predict what new virus might follow in the years to come. Going forward, senior living organizations must be willing to learn, adapt and commit to constantly improving infection control measures.
But it’s not only infection control that matters to families. As ever, all areas of general health and safety are paramount. Spaces within an assisted living community should be safely designed to prevent falls and other injuries. Similarly, having staff on-site around the clock can be instrumental in preventing seniors from wandering into harm’s way, particularly when combined with effective security and surveillance equipment. And what’s more, with a focus on reducing accidents, fewer residents will need to visit hospitals where infections can spread. By putting measures in place to keep seniors as safe and healthy as possible, assisted living communities in Pueblo West can create a web of procedures that work holistically to shield residents from ill health.
Of course, illness and injury can’t always be prevented, which is why families also value assisted living facilities with on-site medically trained staff like registered nurses or rehabilitation experts. Senior living communities with strong connections to local medical facilities and hospitals, and those offering free transportation to appointments are also held in high regard.
A Place to Call Home
Though excellent health and safety provisions are understandably a top priority for seniors and families in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the value of an assisted living facility that cultivates a nurturing and genuinely homely environment shouldn’t be ignored. After all, mental and physical health work together, and a social, supportive and comfortable home can be hugely beneficial to the overall wellbeing of seniors.
In order to give their loved one the best possible chance of cherishing the portion of their retirement spent in residential assisted living, families are on the lookout for a few key strengths. Perhaps most importantly, they need to see that their loved one will be given compassionate and patient care, including support with activities of daily living and personal care as needed. When considering this, staff and occupancy numbers are absolutely key – because even the most highly trained and kind caregivers cannot live up to their potential when constantly under pressure. Families want assisted living communities with high staff to resident ratios, guaranteeing their loved one receives the time and care they truly deserve.
Independent living is also of utmost importance to many families; a great deal of seniors find it hard to transition from living independently in their own home to life in a residential assisted living community. As a result, communities that encourage and facilitate independence are highly valued by families. Limited occupancies and high staff to resident ratios allow caregivers to help seniors complete tasks with as much autonomy as is safe, even if it takes a little more time. What’s more, families have always sought out assisted living facilities offering a variety of social, recreational and physical activities, and the pandemic certainly reminded us of the importance of socialization. Not only can this encourage independence and interaction with fellow residents, but safely supervised, on-site activities also promote good physical, mental and cognitive health.
Combining Healthcare and Home for a Positive Assisted Living Experience
Healthcare and hospitality have always heavily influenced the senior living industry, and the pandemic has highlighted a need for a perfect balance of the two. More specifically, assisted living communities must offer warm and compassionate care, comfortable independent living and stringent health and safety procedures in equal measure. Seniors and their loved ones are starting their search for the perfect community armed with both enduring and new priorities, all undoubtedly shaped by the ripple effects of COVID-19.
To learn more about residential assisted living and how Columbine Chateau focuses on healthcare as well as hospitable, supportive services, contact us today.