By Galina Markovich
No one can dispute the devastating effects of the Coronavirus pandemic and the effects of COVID-19 on seniors, especially in nursing homes, memory care facilities, and other centers that serve aging, vulnerable populations. We have all heard the startling numbers over the last few months. And although we were certainly not unaffected, the four intimate memory care homes that make up the Millennium Memory Care community have fared better than most. Here a few key features about our care strategy that we think explains our results.
- Size Matters – Unlike most memory care facilities, our four locations are small homes with only sixteen residents in each, all with private rooms. At this size, we have been better able to control spread of the virus and protect both our residents and our staff.
- Family Visits – While we have not allowed family members to visit their loved ones inside our homes, we are benefiting from allowing visits at a distance through our screened-in porches. Family members have been able to sit comfortably in our green, beautifully landscaped yards and interact with their loved ones at a safe distance.
- Positive and Negative – With four homes to manage, all in close proximity to each other, we have been able to temporarily relocate residents into COVID positive and COVID negative locations according to their status. This has helped control the spread, but also has the side benefit of allowing residents to continue some social interaction, which we deem vital to the quality of life of our community.
- Dedicated Staff – Many other facilities bring in agencies to care for their large numbers of patients. We do not work with agencies at all. Not only has this further helped us prevent outside workers from bringing the virus into our homes, but it has allowed our crucially important caregiver/patient relationships to remain intact throughout the crisis.
- UV Light – We have seen excellent results from the safe, well managed application of Ultraviolet (UV) light (proven to kill the virus) to disinfect surfaces, common areas, furniture, bathrooms and more throughout our homes.
- Fresh Air – Happily, summer is finally here and we have found that fresh air and sunshine, along with walks along our safe paths and a little bit of fun gardening has helped our residents stay healthy and maintain a positive energy and optimism. We are all cheered by seeing the leaves appear on trees and the flowers blooming in the garden.
- Diet and Nutrition – We have always believed that a balanced diet and good nutrition helps to not only promote overall health, but to mitigate the effects of cognitive decline. During this crisis, we have supplemented our usual home cooked healthy meals with vitamins and vitamin rich foods, as well as immunity boosting healthy drinks.