One of our highest priorities at Sunset Communities is preventing those who live here from experiencing the loneliness prevalent among society’s older adults. Toward that end, we nurture companionship by fostering close and continuing contact between residents and people inside and outside our buildings. But in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) have issued restrictions that significantly limit visitation and group activities at senior living facilities.
At first glance, the mandated precautions necessary to stop the coronavirus from spreading appear sure to hinder efforts to combat loneliness. But look closer, and you’ll see that our residents and staff are finding innovative ways to keep people from feeling isolated.
Connecting on Social Media
One weekday afternoon soon after statewide no-visitor rules went into effect, Sunset Village caregivers went room to room, delivering ice cream sundaes to residents and asking, “What have you been doing to pass the time?” Residents listed their activities on a whiteboard—such as writing letters, drawing, watching television, reading, and talking on the phone— and posed for photos while holding up their lists. Staff then posted the images on Sunset’s Facebook page.
A New Take on Visiting
Unable to come inside, many family members discovered alternatives for visiting their loved ones in person while maintaining social distancing.
From the second-floor balcony of her apartment at The Woodlands, this resident chatted with family members below.
The tall windows enclosing the Sunset House sunroom provided the proper amount of separation for communicating with family outside, while cat Camilla stood guard.
While the Fieldstone Villas clubhouse is off-limits for group dinners, residents have been enjoying delicious meals delivered to their doors by Sunset staff. Here, Chef Rodney begins preparing the evening’s salmon special.
Holding the annual St. Patrick’s day party was out of the question. But, as Irish luck would have it, The Woodlands team took holiday-flavored milkshakes and green-frosted cookies door to door.
While Fieldstone Villa residents spread out to enjoy some early spring weather outdoors, Sunset CEO, Vicky Bartlett (right), stopped by with happy hour beverages and snacks.
Family members used colored chalk to send heartfelt messages to sheltered-in-place loved ones around the Sunset House campus. This note outside an entrance door reminded everyone of the visitor restrictions.