I hope your holiday season is off to a good start. Thanksgiving Day was starkly different but memorable nonetheless for residents across our campus. Our dining services department outdid themselves by offering a delicious traditional Thanksgiving meal. The Resident Life department was also on hand to offer diversions and assisted with many virtual family visits throughout the day.
The vaccine is on its way! Our affiliate, Legacy Lifecare, has contracted with CVS to inoculate staff and residents throughout our campus. We anticipate the arrival of the first doses of the vaccine in mid-January. Stay tuned for more about this great news.
Deutsches Altenheim’s staff has not been immune to the spike in coronavirus cases in Massachusetts. Over the past month, a few staff members tested positive for COVID-19. The good news is that, due to our rigorous surveillance testing schedule, we were able to identify these cases before the virus spread throughout the campus. All staff are tested every three to five days and residents are tested in response to any positive staff cases.
Until the campus is clear of positive cases, per DPH guidelines, all family visits must take place outdoors, weather permitting. Fortunately for German Centre visitors, our covered outdoor patio was recently outfitted with a heating unit. This should help to make visits more comfortable as the temperatures drop over the winter. Unfortunately, Edelweiss Village does not have the same amenities and residents must find alternate ways to safely visit with family and friends. Throughout the Deutsches Altenheim community, virtual visits are encouraged and always offered as an option.
Our adult day program is thriving! Program participants are enjoying respite from the isolation of staying home all day. Program capacity is limited due to state restrictions, but each day brings a full complement of seniors looking for stimulation, conversation, and medical oversight.
Senior Place staff bids a fond farewell to Francesca, a dedicated 30-year employee of Senior Place. Her presence will be missed.
This has been a demanding time for staff. The identification of each test-positive case means that German Centre staff must don and doff full PPE (mask, gloves, gown, and goggles) when entering and exiting a resident’s room. While the importance of this measure cannot be underscored enough, it requires extra diligence and time (which is already in short supply).
Communal gathering restrictions persist and our Resident Life staff makes the rounds offering access to an activity, an update on current events, or just simple conversation. When they’re not engaging one on one with residents, the team is assisting with virtual visits.
Small group activities – like the one pictured here – are permitted in assisted living residences. Residents are delighted to have opportunities to socialize – albeit from six feet – and partake in a game or a project.
The Saengerchor Boston typically performs each year for those gathered at our Tree Lighting festivities. They were undeterred by the pandemic and their performance took on a different look this year. Several Edelweiss Village residents and family members gathered outside for a wonderful concert. You may view the concert, in its entirety, here. Our heartfelt thanks to the singers for keeping the tradition alive, especially given these difficult times.
Edelweiss Village is offering a winter stay program where seniors can opt to stay with us to beat the winter blues. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see what our community is like and to have someone else handle all the worries of cooking, cleaning, laundry and snow-clearing. With so much to worry about this winter, feel free to contact us for more details on how we can help you or your loved one this winter.
A Final Thought
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, we asked our families not to take their loved ones out for family gatherings. We are deeply appreciative for their cooperation as it made a tremendous difference in keeping the virus at bay. For the December holidays, the Department of Public Health (DPH) is again strongly advising families not to take their loved ones out of assisted living and skilled nursing residences. We agree this is the safest course of action to follow and are strongly recommending that our families follow this guidance and celebrate with their loved one virtually or through in-person visits on campus, when available. Together, we can make this holiday season cheerful and safe for our residents.
As I make my journey around the campus each day, I am fortunate to have conversations with residents and staff. I find their resilience remarkable. Staff remain committed to keeping residents healthy and vibrant. As for the residents, the outpouring of support, cheer, and genuine affection they feel for the caregiving team is heartwarming. This past year has been tough on us all. The staff’s concern for residents and, in turn, the residents’ concern for staff, illustrates an innate desire to nurture one another. I am honored to bear witness to the kindness and generosity of spirit that abounds on this campus.
Have a happy and healthy holiday season,
Michael B. Lincoln
Download the UPDATE: December 18 Update