As the coronavirus continues to plague our communities, we’ve seen changes in virtually every aspect of our lives. Senior living communities have seen some of the most major impacts in their efforts to protect the health of their residents and staff members. As we move through this pandemic, systematic issues are being brought to light, and even as we slowly return to “normal” some things may never return as we once knew them.
At the start of the pandemic, senior living communities and nursing homes were some of the first to implement strict lockdowns, and though these efforts we’re helpful, it showcased areas in which they were not fully prepared. The ability to quickly flip from normal everyday life, over to a full lockdown to prevent the spread of the disease, was not something that anyone would have anticipated. Moving into the future, most senior living communities will be built or adjusted with consideration for the next potential pandemic. Residents can expect to see areas for social distancing, additional waiting rooms, larger hallways, and overall more space to avoid unnecessary closeness. These communities will also likely be built with health and safety protocols at the ready so they can enter “crisis mode” at a moment’s notice if necessary.
The success of telehealth in senior living communities is likely something that will continue to be implemented in the future. Through technology, seniors have been able to attend appointments, get prescriptions filled, and complete check-ups without needing to leave the comfort and safety of their home. Even after the pandemic is over, the use of technology in medicine will likely continue due to its ease of use for the patient, and its ability to prevent the spread of disease.
Another positive way we will see technology shape the future is through the use of digital communication. As a means to stay in touch with friends and loved ones, many seniors have become experts at making video calls through Zoom, Skype or FaceTime. This increase in the use of digital communication is not only beneficial in staying connected to loved ones, but it’s a helpful tool for staff members to utilize as well, to stay in touch with resident’s family members, to share information with the community and keep everyone connected.
As time goes on, we will see more and more ways in which the pandemic has shifted the way we operate in our everyday lives. As we become further removed from the virus it will be easier to see the bigger picture and learn what worked, what didn’t, and what is worth keeping around for the future. Senior living communities can expect to see changes, but we can all feel assured knowing that every implemented change will only further ensure the health and safety of the residents who call that community home.