We are thrilled to report that the first round of vaccinations have been completed in almost all of our Inspired Living communities, and the rest of the first clinics are scheduled for completion before the end of this month. As wonderful as that news is, the reality is that these months have been difficult. For our residents, not seeing their loved ones in person has been heartbreaking.
So now the question is – when can we stop by for a visit?
The answer can be complicated. Restrictions vary by state, and senior living communities must err on the side of caution. Outdoor visits with grandparents are the best bet, and those visits can only happen if the community has been free of COVID-19 cases for 14 days.
Experts say that, once most residents in a senior living community are vaccinated, it is generally safer to loosen some restrictions – but masks continue to be mandatory. Also, remember that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both require two injections – the initial shot and a booster three or four weeks later. The protection these vaccines provide takes time, so visits should be delayed until at least two weeks after the second shot is administered.
Ideally, all visitors should receive their vaccinations before they come near their loved ones. Since shots will not be widely available for a few months, it may be best to wait until all who plan to visit have received their vaccinations.
“As adult children, we need to recognize that our moms and dads have a much higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19” notes Courtney Hancock, Corporate Director of Clinical Strategy for Validus Senior Living, adding “the vaccine provides protection, but another first line of defense is to keep our guard up. Families should encourage their loved ones to get vaccinated, and everyone should continue to wear masks, wash their hands well and often, and practice social distancing.”
Remember Florence Nightingale? In the mid-1800’s she recognized the importance of handwashing as the best way to prevent the spread of infection and disease. Her simple advice brought a dramatic decline in hospital mortality rates, and today still rings true.
At Inspired Living, we follow CDC guidelines, requiring mask usage, hand hygiene, and social distancing to control the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses. In addition, we have instituted additional rigorous disinfecting measures including the use of foggers, UV light sanitization, and telemedicine (when possible), to help us mitigate widespread infection in our communities.
Says Courtney Hancock, “The key to weathering this pandemic, is to not become complacent. Even though we are all tired and ready to get life back to normal (or our new normal), it is imperative we continue to act as we did in early 2020. Not letting our guard down will be paramount to continued success in battling this invisible enemy.”
For answers to visitation questions specific to your Inspired Living community, please contact the community’s executive director.