There is no denying life at LCS communities has changed. Phone calls, on-line chats, and written letters have replaced personal time spent with family and friends. Game nights and group dinners have been temporarily paused while we practice social distancing. In this period of uncertainty, it is more important than ever that we find new ways to define what it means to be a community, even if it looks a little different.
During this time, when families are separated from their loved ones, LCS recognizes we have a commitment not only to the physical health of residents but also to their emotional well-being. As an organization, LCS is taking steps to prioritize the mental health of residents in our senior living communities. First, we implemented daily telephonic wellness check-ins for residents across all 140 communities. These regular check-ins, which follow social distancing guidelines, allow community employees to tend to the individual needs of each resident and help us assess their overall physical and emotional needs at the time.
LCS is also facilitating idea sharing across our network – encouraging communities to learn from each other’s best practices. While daily check-ins are one approach in the community’s greater efforts to combat resident loneliness, there’s rarely a “one size fits all” approach for bringing communities together. Each community has the independence to create and facilitate activities based on their residents’ needs. Here are a few highlights of what many communities are doing to help promote the emotional well-being of residents during these unprecedented times:
Big moments deserve to be recognized. That’s why we’re taking time to celebrate the big moments in our residents’ lives, like birthdays or anniversaries. A virtual party does not replace in-person moments but reminds residents that we must find ways to celebrate positive moments during this time.
We know residents miss the little moments in the day, which bring people together, like morning coffee or cocktail hour. Daily coffee deliveries and socially distant cocktail carts are just two ways many communities have ensured these routines continue.
It’s hard to be apart from friends and family, but technology has given us dozens of ways to turn life’s moments into virtual experiences. We recognize the activities residents typically look forward to and are turning them into virtual events.
Staying active – both physically and mentally – is essential to emotional well-being. Some communities are streaming exercise classes, setting up reading partner programs with local school children, and promoting the use of virtual bingo to help residents stay active and connected.
LCS is virtually connecting residents and their families and rethinking how we approach cherished daily routines. We remain inspired by the many ways our communities ensure residents feel connected and cared for as we all learn to adjust to this “new normal.”
The health and well-being of our residents remain our top priority, and we are thankful for the outpouring of support we’ve received.