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Assisted living facilities coping with pandemic, trying to keep residents happy and healthy

Posted: 5:57 PM, Mar 24, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-24 17:57:04-04
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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — One of the demographics most at risk during this pandemic is our seniors. For those in assisted living facilities, this can be a stressful time, but caregivers are doing everything they can to keep those residents happy and healthy.

Rosa Lee Moore had plans to go out to dinner with her family to celebrate her 86th birthday. Those plans had to be canceled.

“Prioritizing becomes pretty simple, with the situation as it is, what’s important what’s not important,” said Moore.

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Moore is one of six seniors living at Humphrey Assisted Living. They are allowed to go outside, but right now, no visitors and any staff that is around them must wear a mask and pass a health screening before every shift.

“This entire process has made the entire industry liquid, which means we are more fluid, we have to adjust as the protocols are sent down from the state,” said John Johnson, with the Small Assisted Living Coalition.

At least once a week, the Small Assisted Living Coalition helps place seniors into facilities across Hillsborough County. They said during times like this care workers make all the difference.

“As long as they stay calm and keep that atmosphere joyful, the population will remain calm, and they may not even be aware that there is a pandemic going on,” said Johnson.

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Over at Magnolia Manor, the staff is thinking outside the box to keep their 53 residents entertained.

“They are going stir crazy, we can’t have activities come in, so we are trying to be inventive,” said owner Barbara Keithly. “Today we had a mystery ride, we went down Bayshore Blvd. and showed them how the other half lives.”

For those residents no precisely up to date with technology, the staff is introducing them to FaceTime.

“We’re pulling them up so they can see their loved ones, and oh, they are so happy,” said staff member Robbin Lozano.

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For those families out there searching for an assisted living facility for a loved one, but are currently unable to tour them, the Small Assisted Living Coalition offers that service free of charge.

“We have a protocol in place, we go by level of care, geography, price point, culture, we can fill all of those needs,” said Johnson.

For more information on the Small Assisted Living Coalition, go to www.smallalfcoalition.com.