Is There Life After COVID in Assisted Living Communities?

For over a year, assisted living communities here in the Valley have been mostly closed to visitors, resulting in crushing isolation for many of the residents.

Now, I am starting to feel positive that things are getting back to some sense of normalcy in our assisted living communities here in the Coachella Valley and around California. I am seeing signs that many of them are easing some of their restrictions and resuming certain activities after a long year of lock downs.

Can we really be moving past this?


Ending Isolation

There have been a lot of health care experts and senior advocates calling recently for reopening assisted living communities in order to end the isolation that many residents have experienced.

“At this point, residents are becoming more likely to die of isolation and neglect than covid,” said Jocelyn Bogdan, program and policy specialist at the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, citing new data linking covid-19 vaccination to sharp declines in covid-related deaths.

The restrictions appear to be easing and there is a sense of optimism among residents and their families.


The vaccine situation

All of the large and small communities have been vaccinated. While I don’t have exact numbers of how many residents in each community have received the vaccine, community leaders are expressing optimism that enough residents have received the vaccine and are starting to resume some normal activities.

Ruth Katz, senior vice president of public policy at LeadingAge, says that vaccines have changed everything. Long-term care and assisted living communities are now among the safest places you can be in your community in terms of COVID.


Community tours

The communities are opening up their building tours again. We are now able to see the entire community as opposed to just individual apartments or rooms. They are still offering virtual tours but being able to see the community in person allows prospective residents to get a much better idea of what it’s like to live there.

There are certain aspects of the community that are difficult to get a good feel for during a virtual tour.


Family visitors

Families are now able to visit loved ones with minor restrictions.

The communities seem to be reopening carefully, which is encouraging. They are doing things like scheduling visits, screening visitors for symptoms and limiting the number of visitors in a facility at any one time.

Some facilities are sending visitors to designated visitor sites, not residents’ rooms, and are requiring the use of masks and gloves, among other precautions.

Dr. Swati Gaur, chair of the infection advisory committee for AMDA, says that no one wants to see COVID outbreaks reappear in long-term care facilities. They have been the site of nearly 175,000 COVID-related deaths, about 35% of the nations total.


Moving Forward

The COVID-19 vaccines seem to be giving people a sense of hope. The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and those dying from the virus are decreasing in Riverside County and throughout California. Our assisted living communities are beginning to resume some activities such as family visits and community tours.

Communities are reopening carefully and with certain restrictions but it feels like we are in a much different place than we were just a month ago. There is a sense of optimism for sure.

If you have any questions about the reopening of assisted living communities or would like to schedule a tour, please give me a call.


About Senior Living Options of the Desert

Senior Living Options of the Desert is Southern California’s leader in senior living referral. We’ve been helping families find compassionate care for their loved ones since 2004.

Whether you’re looking for independent living, assisted living, memory care, or another form of senior care, our local family advisors will help you find the right option for you and your family. Our mission is to provide families with the best residential care options based on care needs and location, no matter what the budget. And, our services are always FREE.

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