Bridging Gaps Created by Social Distancing
Many challenges have arisen in the effort to protect Paradise Valley Estates residents from COVID-19. Our Northern California Life Plan Community has quickly re-imagined and replaced longstanding systems, programs and activities and on the very shortest of timelines to keep residents safe. We were also aware the precautions could isolate residents from family, loved ones and favorite activities.
It’s no secret social connections are essential to anyone’s health and well-being. That’s why residents of our community have easy access to a full calendar of group activity options to supplement social visits. Activities help residents in all levels of care stay stimulated, engaged and happier. But as the virus unfolded, the physical distancing and visitor restrictions critical to preventing infection also meant group activities and social visits to Paradise Valley Estates had to be suspended. Activities staff, led by wellness coordinators Sharon Johnson and Monique Rogers, sprang into action early in the quarantine to invent a virtual approach to social engagement.
Sharon and Monique first connected with David Nadeau, PVE’s technology whiz, for a way to provide the next best thing to an in-person visit: virtual visiting. David’s solution was a handful of iPads, each loaded with consumer-friendly apps of the moment: Zoom, Facetime and Skype. Almost immediately, family members could schedule face-to-face visits with loved ones on the closed campus. Virtual visits have proven so popular, they’ll continue in earnest even after the campus fully reopens.
To support group activities for assisted and skilled nursing residents, the wellness team also turned to technology and a touch-screen system called It’s Never Too Late. Residents interact individually with the wheeled, computer kiosk where they can enjoy more than 4,000 content modules including virtual travel, short stories, word or card games and even reminisce about their own life experiences.
Technology has been a boon to both social engagement and services during the quarantine. One of the most popular new offerings is a blend of highly advanced computing and a scoop of old-school delight: the anticipation of a soon-to-arrive ice cream truck. A team member follows behind the “truck,” actually an iPad on a cart, as it chimes the familiar tune of a neighborhood ice cream truck. When residents hear the sound, even faintly, their excitement abounds. They know a tasty treat is headed their way!
With the need to stay six feet apart now a longer-term approach, technology has been a wonderful way to knit people together no matter where they are.
Visit the Greater Good to learn how our Life Plan Community residents and team members are working hard to keep our community well and safe.