A Day in the Life of Era Living Staff During the Coronavirus Pandemic: Life Enrichment
What is it like to work in a retirement community during the coronavirus pandemic? How has the pandemic shifted how staff members care for and engage residents? We want to give you an inside look into how our various Era Living teams operate, and what pivots they are making to continue serving our communities with compassion and dedication during this time.
Today, we are highlighting the work of our Life Enrichment team. When the coronavirus outbreak first hit Washington with little warning, Life Enrichment had to quickly find ways to help residents stay engaged and connected while following important safety measures. We interviewed Dana Sanders, Life Enrichment Coordinator at Ida Culver House Broadview, on what that experience was like, how their work shifted when restrictions slowly started to open, and how the team continues to stay flexible during these extraordinary times.
How Life Enrichment Pivoted When the Pandemic First Hit
“Back in March, our team saw the potential scope of this pandemic, and that we needed to help make our residents feel as comfortable as possible,” shares Dana. “Because there was a great sense of urgency, we hit the ground running right away to install new technology that allowed us to stream content to our residents’ ‘in-house’ TV channel. We made sure to offer a variety of options to keep residents engaged, connected, and active. We offered educational lectures, current event discussions, fitness classes, and mindfulness exercises. And when weather allowed, we brought in entertainment and conducted exercise classes that residents could enjoy safely from their balconies.”
This video shows a balcony exercise class that was conducted in spring 2020 at Ida Culver House Broadview.
Helping residents stay connected to their loved ones during this time was also essential. Our staff provided iPads to any resident who didn’t have the technology to video chat with their family. And in the spring and early summer, Life Enrichment worked with families of residents to coordinate creative ways to honor important celebrations, such as birthdays and anniversaries. The photo to the right shows a 50th wedding anniversary celebration at our retirement community, The Lakeshore.
Life at Our Communities Today
Our Life Enrichment team continues to provide a variety of virtual activities for residents to enjoy. Now that some of the initial restrictions have lifted, our team is also able to provide small group, outdoor, distanced activities to help nourish the mind, body, and spirit.
“Our team has been brainstorming ways for residents to see faces and stay connected with each other,” says Dana. “This spring and early summer, we brought in entertainment that residents could enjoy outside on their balconies. When restrictions started to lift, we were able to start offering activities such as resident social hour, stretch and flex classes, group art projects, and games that residents can enjoy in-person while maintaining physical distance.”
As for connecting with loved ones outside of the community, residents still have the opportunity to check-out iPads. And, residents are now also able to reserve a table outside in the garden terrace to see family and friends while physical distancing, under a heated tent for the cold, wet months.
Staying Flexible is Key
“Every week is different,” shares Dana. “Our day-to-day is constantly changing, and it’s important to stay flexible and open to new ideas while also remaining cautious to protect our residents.”
At Era Living retirement communities, we strive to help residents find joy and connection during these extraordinary times. Learn more about what life is like in our communities here, and don’t hesitate to contact us with questions.