Creative Social Distancing in Senior Living

For those with friends or family members at a senior living community, this is an extra-stressful time.

On top of concerns about Covid-19 and its impact on the economy, these families are also worried about the physical and emotional well-being of their loved ones.

At Sonata Senior Living, we may not be able to ease your concerns about the virus or economy, but we can assure you this: Our residents are our top concern.

We’re doing everything we can to keep them happy and healthy during this stressful time.

In addition to advanced cleaning protocols, proactive testing and 24-hour staffing, our teams are also encouraging what we call “socially distant–appropriate” activities.

Our goal is to help prevent residents from feeling lonely or socially isolated, which has been linked to a variety of health issues, including anxiety, depression and high blood pressure.

Here are some of the ways our Florida senior living communities have modified their activity programming in light of Covid-19.

Enjoying the Great Outdoors — Safely

Many of our communities offer large outdoor spaces where residents can relax on porch swings, enjoy their morning walk on a nature trail or spend time in a vegetable garden.

Residents are encouraged to explore the grounds and get fresh air. Spending time with other residents outside is also fine as long as everyone is healthy, wearing facemasks and staying six feet apart.

For those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, our memory care communities are also encouraging safe wandering in designated areas.

Small Group Activities with a Twist

Across our communities, staff members are finding ways to modify our most popular small-group activities.

Games like hallway Sonata donut shoppebowling and bingo allow independent and assisted living residents to interact from the safety of their doorways. At our memory care communities, morning stretches and art lessons are now held in residents’ rooms instead of the library or dining area.

We’re also encouraging special interest groups to meet online instead of in the common areas. Competitions like the “Sonata Derby” horse race have been moved to Facebook — where families and friends can now play along.

“We’re trying to think outside the box,” said Ashley Baptista, Lifestyle Director at Sonata Senior Living. “We want to keep things exciting, while still keeping everyone safe.”

Putting a Spin on Special Occasions

At Sonata, we’re always looking for an excuse to celebrate. And while we may have to modify our festivities for added protection from coronavirus, we’re not going to let it stop us from having a good time.

Sonata staff fiestaOn Cinco de Mayo, assisted and independent living residents were treated to a hallway guacamole-making class. Staff members dressed in sombreros and brought margaritas door-to-door.

At Serenades Memory Care communities, residents were given seeds to plant on Earth Day. A few days later, on National Superhero Day (held every April 28, if you’re curious), staff members dressed as Wonder Woman and the Hulk and brought cupcakes to everyone’s rooms.

“Our residents loved it,” said Hillary Newell, a Sonata lifestyle director. “You should have seen their smiles.”

Getting Online to Connect

As hard as it is for families to not be able to visit loved ones, the wonders of videoconferencing have made it easier to stay connected virtually.

At all of our communities, we’re helping residents take advantage of video technology to stay in touch with friends, family and the local community.

Residents are offered use of community iPads (which are sterilized between each use) to log on to services like Zoom and Facetime. Staff members are also in contact with local religious groups to see if services are being streamed online.

Ensuring the health, safety and well-being of our residents and team members is Sonata Senior Living’s top priority. To learn more, contact us today or schedule a virtual tour.

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