Supporting Health and Well-Being in Seniors Lives
Three senior programs in the Madison area are quickly adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oak Park Place and Waunakee Manor are implementing extra sanitization measures to ensure all residents remain safe. Sharing Active Independent Lives provides at home activity ideas, and daily automated check ins to its members. The organizations are using virtual meetings or virtual doctor’s visits to increase connections during a time of social distancing.
Senior living programs and facilities are essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both are doing whatever they can to keep seniors safe.
Shares Her Mission
Having a passionate heart for the well-being of our aging community, I
am here to share how we can support our seniors to be active in all aspects
With the current situation, now more than ever it is important that we continue consistent routines for our loved ones to keep them healthy and “safe in all respects. We believe in one-on-one care, staying in touch with loved ones and creative thinking to keep exercise and activities occurring in their lives.
• With physical health, we combine social, mental, spiritual, environmental and intellectual lifestyle choices.
• Seated yoga, balance, strength, range of motion and dance parties all are movements we focus on with our communities in independent living, assisted living, memory care and our skilled nursing home.
• Oak Park Place has an amazing Activity Team to keep our aging community engaged.
• We focus on social experiences including, but not limited to, reminiscing, bingo and weekly gatherings every Friday.
• Each part of our community implements a variety of activities. One recent activity, which went viral, was our Valentine’s Day love advice. A simple activity to learn from our residents turned into a sweet message for everyone to see.
• Emotional health ties in with our social and physical wellness qualities. Walking is huge for mental health, and our seniors have an entire community to explore and engage with fellow community members while doing so!
• Having personal beliefs, religious or otherwise, is important, and we want everyone to feel comfortable expressing themselves.
• We encourage volunteering to stay connected to the community.
• Our initiatives include wellness fairs/health checks, support groups and wellness presentations.
• Our commitment includes recycling and using nonprocessed foods, such
as fruits and vegetables, as much as possible.
• We also highly value the community, actively participating in charity walks and supporting local sports teams, among other community activities.
Virtual Check-in to Stay Connected
While our community is challenged with social distancing, Sharing Active Independent Lives (SAIL) is keeping its more than 500 members connected in other ways. SAIL, a program of AgeBetter Inc., has helped improve Madison-area seniors’ lives for over 15 years.
Executive Director Ann Albert says that with COVID-19, staff and volunteers are even more focused on regular contacts with members — offering assistance, safety tips and time to chat.
SAIL’s daily automated check-in service brings peace of mind to members living alone.
Albert says, “It has definitely magnified the importance of the many unique benefits SAIL provides!”
Members’ ideas for at-home activities include gardening, downsizing household clutter, learning new skills, creating a personal legacy and in-home walks.
SAIL’s tech services help members order supplies online and stay in touch via video calls and social media. Virtual board games, luncheons and educational programs also help members stay engaged. SAIL recommends a variety of prescreened vendor services, too. For more information, visit www.sailtoday.org
or SAIL’s Facebook page.
Experienced Staff Reassures Residents and Families
Waunakee Manor is taking extra precautions for residents and staff in
the wake of COVID-19,
Every resident is being provided the option of telehealth, which allows a personal teleconference with a doctor. Every staff member and visitor who enters the building is being screened for COVID-19 symptoms in order to keep residents safe.
“We are taking this extremely seriously,” says Ron Lindow, communication specialist at Waunakee Manor.
In the 50 years Waunakee Manor has been caring for people in Dane County, staff have never experienced anything like this, Lindow says.
The senior living facility, however, has adapted quickly and continually updates its procedures and protocols to align with Centers for Disease Control guidelines. Experienced staff members are available 24 hours a day, and some have as much as 30 years of experience
at the facility.
Waunakee still offers a full continuum of care, meaning residents can move through all stages of life there — from independent living to full skilled nursing care.
“Even during this uncertain time we are making the transition from level to level as easy as it can be — the resident already knows the environment, staff and dining experience — which provides a glimmer of consistency,” Lindow says.