With the COVID-19 pandemic currently in full swing, and older adults being especially vulnerable to the disease, now might not seem like the best time to consider making the move to a senior living community. However, when you weigh the risks and benefits of moving to a community versus waiting out the pandemic at home, for many individuals it still makes more sense on balance to start exploring the option of moving.
Gayle Young, Director of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations for Sunset Retirement Communities, offers several reasons that joining a community sooner rather than later might be the best choice for you or an older loved one. They include:
Older adults who live alone are vulnerable to loneliness and isolation, putting them at increased risk of a wide range of physical, emotional, and mental-health issues. In fact, according to the National Institute on Aging, research has shown that social isolation and loneliness are linked to higher risks of high blood, pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death among older adults. Of course, when stay-at-home orders are put in place for weeks or months at a time, older adults’ sense of loneliness is greatly compounded.
“In contrast, older adults who choose Sunset stay engaged and never have to experience isolation because we have a built-in community of residents and staff and offer a wide variety of activities and amenities that nourish them in body, mind, and spirit while adhering to all health guidelines and directives,” Young states.
Strict health protocols
Quality senior communities have already implemented strict protocols in response to the outbreak in order to keep their residents healthy. These include measures such as requiring appropriate social distancing, encouraging regular handwashing, limiting or restricting visitation, postponing or modifying group activities, enhancing already strict cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and requiring sick staff members to stay home.
Regular health monitoring
Residents at senior living communities are being regularly screened for symptoms of coronavirus so any cases can be caught early to prevent spread to others. However, routine health monitoring doesn’t begin and end with COVID-19. “Quality communities always keep a close eye on the health status of residents—especially those with pre-existing conditions—to ensure they’re getting the appropriate treatments and level of care. Also, medications are kept on hand, so you don’t have to drive to the pharmacy to get them, and we can assist residents in managing them properly,” Young says.
Meals and snacks provided
One of the biggest challenges facing the general population during the COVID-19 crisis is ensuring that nutritious foods and other essentials are available in sufficient quantities. For many people, this means making regular forays to the grocery store or bulk retail club, risking exposure (or exposing others) to the virus on each trip. But for residents of senior living communities, there’s no need to leave home to stock up on food because meals and snacks are all provided.
A pet-friendly environment
Ample research shows that spending time with pets is beneficial for older adults in a variety of ways. “Not only are pets loyal companions that give unconditional affection, but they also provide important health benefits such as promoting regular exercise, reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, and even reducing symptoms of depression. At Sunset, dogs and cats are welcome on all the campuses, and aviaries and aquariums are located throughout the buildings,” says Young.
Sunset Retirement Communities offers a full care continuum that includes assisted living, memory care, and health care at Sunset House; assisted living, health care, memory support, and a state-of-the-art rehab center at Sunset Village; independent living apartments at The Woodlands; active-living homes at Fieldstone Villas; and hospice and palliative care services through Ashanti Hospice and Palliative Care. For more information, please call 419-536-4645 (Sunset House), 419-724-1200 (Sunset Village), 419-724-1220 (The Woodlands), or 419-386-2686 (Fieldstone Villas), or visit www.sunset-communities.org.
Though Sunset is not currently offering in-person tours due to the COVID-19 crisis, interested individuals are encouraged to call the admissions team at any of Sunset’s locations. These knowledgeable and friendly professionals will be happy to share their insights as well as photos of the various communities. Also, virtual tours of the different Sunset locations can be viewed at www.sunset-communities.org.