Staff at some assisted living facilities across South Florida are pulling out all the stops to find ways to keep seniors engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At Covenant Living in Plantation, the goal is for seniors to stay active as they stay apart. Exercise classes are very popular there, there just look totally different now that residents are keeping their distance.
Catherine Dolgin is one of many residents who takes the classes from the comfort of her own home.
“We all need to have that human interaction, it’s very beneficial,” said Dolgin. ”It’s good to see people even if it’s on TV and to know they’re here for you specifically.”
Activities Coordinator Aimee Paris runs the classes, which come into the seniors rooms on TV over their community channel. Paris says it’s the best option they have in the world of social distancing.
“They are insulated from what’s going on around us, but they’re not isolated, they’re not alone,” said Paris.
With common areas closed off, staff have adapted to bring the seniors options like trivia and live music in a safe way. Residents get food delivered to their rooms to prevent them from gathering in dining halls. They are encouraged to take walks around the property to get outdoors, which is one of Pete Tingon’s favorite things to do with his wife of 52 years.
“They’ve told us what’s happening within Covenant community and outside community and I think the fear level is significantly less here because they’ve been up front with what’s going on,” said Tingon.
”All of these are so beneficial in these days as to not to feel isolated,” added Golgin.
A team of chaplains who lead morning prayer also offer counseling to any of the seniors who may be feeling down. The feedback from residents has been positive, they say they’re grateful to the staff for what’s been offered to keep them engaged.