It comes as no surprise to any of us the fact that this year has been very challenging to say the least. In particular, residents in assisted living communities have been and remain under protection with restricted visitations. While the restrictions are necessary, they can also make residents feel isolated, overwhelmed and confused by the recent events, and lonely, making it a big priority for carers to work harder at entertaining them with fun and engaging activities that can cheer them up.
Now that the holidays are quickly approaching, many families have started planning for gatherings, laughter, sharing stories, and creating memories. But because of the restrictions being implemented on all the memory care communities, everyone’s plans will need to be adjusted to accommodate the safety protocols. So the big question is: How can families spend the holidays with their loved ones in memory care this year?
Consider these 4 tips to help you plan for your holiday visits with loved ones in a community:
Know your assisted living community visitation policies
Not all assisted living communities in Texas are providing the same level of visitation. Communities have to comply with very strict guidelines to safely allow different forms of visitation. These guidelines require extra resources and may not always be accommodated. Your best bet would be to communicate with staff early to make sure that you won’t be violating any policies that will be implemented even before your visit. It is also recommended to check the pandemic restrictions of the community’s state to make sure you can stay in compliance.
The Government of Texas has recently launched a helpful travel guide to help citizens steer clear of the virus. This maps out very important guidelines for staying at hotels, dining out, visiting state parks, exploring historic sites, and the basics of pandemic safety.
Be flexible in planning
While celebrating on the exact day of the holiday is great, try considering not celebrating on the actual date itself. Remember that your family in memory care won’t be the only resident who will have visitors on that date. Everyone will want to come and visit their loved ones to spend the holiday with them on the same day you want to, which is what the community will want to avoid. The number of people allowed to visit as well as the number of hours they can do so will definitely be limited as well, so be prepared for that. This is where coordination with family members and the community itself plays an important role. Communicate with the community’s members first to ask about potential arrangements as well as the guidelines that they’ve set in place for the holiday visits. The best case scenario is that you’ll get a window of hours in a day when you can visit or that there is a specific day when you can visit for an extended amount of time. Communicate early to secure your holiday plans and visiting date more efficiently. Communities are working hard to accommodate everyone and flexibility may be the key to coordinating a quality visit.
Check in with the staff of the community before bringing in items
Community staff won’t only consider restricting the amount of people who can come and celebrate the holidays with their loved ones, they will also consider the foods and other items that your family will bring to the visit. Items coming from the outside will need to be sanitized to make sure that they don’t contain any harmful viruses. Bringing in food and other items can’t be avoided, so it’s best if you can send the items in advance to give the team time to sanitize appropriately and assist in presenting the items on the day/time of your visit.
Know the limitations on number of visitors and for the type of visit you are planning
The more people are invited to a gathering, the more likely it is for an outbreak to occur. To make sure that doesn’t happen, the people allowed to visit every resident will definitely be a small gathering rather than a party. Communicate with your community to ask about the limitations and age restrictions (if they have any). This way, you can plan better with your family once you’ve decided on a date. While the community will restrict the number of people who can go, they probably won’t restrict virtual calls. You can call as many people as you and the resident likes. But keep in mind that having too many people on the call might confuse and overwhelm your loved one, so try to invite a few people at a time for each call.
Stick to your scheduled times
Communities are juggling safety with the importance of loved ones staying connected with residents. To help the whole community comply with the set protocols, make sure to arrive early and leave on or before the final hour of your visit. Keeping with schedules gives the staff the adequate time for sanitation procedures between visits and tending to resident care needs.
Residents of assisted living communities are looking forward to connecting with their loved ones safely this holiday season. Given these challenging times, planning ahead will help you anticipate expectations and plan for an enjoyable holiday visit.
This coming holidays, we want to do what we can to help you reunite with your loved ones residing in our community. If you would like to know about Sundara Senior Living’s COVID-19 response or our holiday visitation policies, please give us a call at 512-399-5089.