Watching From the Inside: COVID-19 and Older Generations
Imagine being forced to stay in a room for months on end unable to see your friends and family. The older generations living in assisted living facilities across the nation do not need to imagine this, it’s their reality.
It is a difficult time for people living in residential healthcare facilities and nursing homes. Those who are older or have pre-existing health issues are more likely to face life threatening effects from COVID-19. LeRoy Village Green in LeRoy, NY is a residential healthcare facility that has taken precautions to prevent these groups from contracting the virus.
This facility has been in service for over 40 years, equipped with a team of healthcare professionals to look after those who reside there.
“They’re worried for their family,” said Zoie Bowering a certified nursing assistant,“the ones that are aware of what is happening in the world, they can’t touch their family anymore and that takes a toll on them.”
Bowering said visitors are not permitted into the building at any time and staff members are required to take a COVID-19 test every week. If family members or friends want to speak with residents they must do so through the phone or on a facetime call.
“The residents get mad at us, they think we are taking family away from them, they feel like their time is being taken away,” Bowering said.
The facility has allowed family members to be seated outside the residents windows while on the phone. They can see their families but no contact of any kind is permitted.
There are residents that have a difficult time making sense of the current state of the world. This has an impact on their overall mental health. Residents do not understand why they can’t touch their loved ones, they are confused as to why they do not have visitors anymore.
Coronavirus poses a life threatening danger to those who have underlying health conditions or are above the age of 60. A lot has been said about how young people have been affected in their work and school lives, while older people face these challenges at a greater risk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health experts said the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases the older the person is. If these older individuals contract the virus it can lead to hospitalization, intensive care, or being placed on a ventilator.
Although it is difficult, LeRoy Village Green has to take these special precautions to ensure the safety of their residents.
“We have three codes we use to rate the status of COVID in the building.” said Racheal Thomas, Activities Coordinator at LeRoy Village Green.
“Code green we wear a mask and physical contact with the residents is fine. Code yellow means we don’t go into their rooms unless we have to, and in code red the entire wing is on lock down,” said Thomas, “no residents can leave and gloves, masks, face shields, and cloth and temporary gowns are on when they think there is a case in the building.”
Photo via LeRoy Village Green.
LeRoy Village Green dedicated a section of their website to answering questions about what else has been done to prevent the spread in the facility. At the top of their web page is a tab titled, COVID-19 Visitation Information and Pandemic Emergency Plan. This section of the site is updated constantly with Village Green’s status regarding COVID-19. At the moment the facility has no positive cases amongst the residents or staff.
In an effort to reunite residents with their families, LeRoy Village Green will soon open limited outdoor visitation. The implementation of this visitation will give the residents more time to be with their loved ones. During this difficult time, LeRoy Village Green is hoping for the best. The safety of these residents is one of the facility’s top priorities, along with ensuring the quality of their mental health.