What’s Next for Senior Care in Durand?

Senior Care in Durand, Michigan , including Assisted Living and Memory Care, has changed drastically in the last few months due to the Covid-19 outbreak. As the state starts to open back up again, what does that mean for senior care?

The senior population is one of the most vulnerable to coronavirus. Many assisted living and senior care residency locations where hit hard by the virus.

Why are Vibrant Life’s numbers of positive cases so low?

How to Keep Covid-19 Out of Senior Care in Durand

Strict guidelines, proactive testing, and community education are the three top things that will keep Covid-19 number down.

Strict Guidelines

Rules and protocol must remain very strict — even as other types of businesses like restaurants, retail stores, salons, etc. start to invite the public in again. Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, Vibrant Life has been at the forefront of executing safety measures and we plan on continuing a very cautious and proactive approach.

Please check out What We Are Doing to keep you Safe, Healthy, and Vibrant During Covid-19 for a complete list of all the changes, protocols, and safety measures we have in place.

Proactive Testing

Vibrant Life has provided more testing for our staff and residents than most. Proactive testing is still unusual in the State of Michigan but Vibrant Life is doing it.  The State mandate requires testing of all residents of nursing homes and weekly testing of nursing home staff. This is problematic because not all senior care is considered “nursing homes.” In fact, Vibrant Life is not – we are categorized as assisted living. Therefore, the mandate does not apply us. Even so, we are testing. 

We now know that people can have the virus and be asymptomatic. Unfortunately, it is during the asymptomatic period when they are most contagious. This is why testing often is important. 

Vibrant Life follows all mandatory guidelines plus non-mandatory guidelines as appropriate for each community. We believe in doing what is right and what is working, not just the bare minimum defined in a mandate. 

Our staff is tested regularly even though we aren’t technically required to. 

Senior Care Community Education and Support

Vibrant Life created an innovative coalition between our senior communities, physicians, local hospitals and local health departments to enact pre-testing, and subsequent monitoring of Covid-19 positive residents. These coalitions have prevented the spread of the virus to others throughout the community.

In addition, we created a Public Service Announcement (PSA) video,“If You Don’t Get It, You Might Spread It” to educate people on preventing the spread of the virus. This was shared with our communities and also made available for all assisted living and senior care facilities to use in order to educate their staff and residents. 

The Lodge of Durand success story

In the last few weeks we have had a great success at the Lodge of Durand (20 minutes east of Lansing).  Until mid-April there were no positive tests of staff or residents in Durand.  In fact, Shiawassee County had very few positive cases in general. However, a nursing home nearby in Durand had a severe outbreak and Vibrant Life decided to proactively test all residents and staff there.  The health department in Shiawassee County was very cooperative and pleased with our proactive testing program. 

Sure enough, four asymptomatic residents and one staff tested positive.  The staff member was taken off the schedule and successfully recuperated at home.  The residents were moved to a Covid-positive unit on the campus, separated from everyone else.  Staff was assigned to that unit only, and wore appropriate PPE equipment. Two weeks went by and the people recovered. 

Upon retesting everyone tested negative and were able to return to their bedroom suites.  The health department has told us they consider what we did at the Lodge of Durand a model for how assisted living communities should handle dealing with the Coronavirus.  As of May 26, 2020, The Lodge of Durand is Covid free. 

What’s Next?

The next steps will likely be limited outdoor meetings with loved ones. Visitors will continue to be screened and have their temperature taken before they can participate. Family members and their loved one who is a resident of Vibrant Life will be able to meet outside for a limited amount of time while practicing safe social distancings. Short walks or sitting outside will be allowed.

Dormant Positive Testing

People who have had the virus sometimes test positive for a long time – up to 60 days and beyond. This can be the case for people who were symptomatic or asymptomatic.  The professionals are beginning to think that even when someone recovers from the virus, it can lay dormant in the body. This can result in a positive test, but it may not be active in a person’s body. 

They think it may not be transferrable or contagious at that time either.  When someone tests positive, and is not in the hospital, we put them in our Covid-positive units.  They would return from the units to their suites when they test negative.  So, if they keep testing positive, that would be a problem.  We will keep conferring with our physicians and health departments as we deal with this issue on an individual basis. 

We are very happy to report that each positive resident who recovered and moved out of the Covid unit has not re-tested as positive since. 

Interested In Learning More?

Our location in Durand is accepting new residents at this time. We offer virtual tours of all of our locations. We also schedule virtual meetings to answer all of your questions and provide information on the process for moving in a new resident. Please contact us  (989)288-6561 or visit our website for more information.

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What’s Next for Senior Care in Ann Arbor?

Senior Care in Ann Arbor, Michigan, including Assisted Living and Memory Care, has changed drastically in the last few months due to the Covid-19 outbreak. As the state starts to open back up again, what does that mean for senior care?

The senior population is one of the most vulnerable to coronavirus. Many assisted living and senior care residency locations where hit hard by the virus.

Why are Vibrant Life’s numbers of positive cases so low?

How to Keep Covid-19 Out of Senior Care in Ann Arbor

Strict guidelines, proactive testing, and community education are the three top things that will keep Covid-19 number down.

Strict Guidelines

Rules and protocol must remain very strict — even as other types of businesses like restaurants, retail stores, salons, etc. start to invite the public in again. Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, Vibrant Life has been at the forefront of executing safety measures and we plan on continuing a very cautious and proactive approach.

Please check out What We Are Doing to keep you Safe, Healthy, and Vibrant During Covid-19 for a complete list of all the changes, protocols, and safety measures we have in place.

Proactive Testing

Vibrant Life has provided more testing for our staff and residents than most. Proactive testing is still unusual in the State of Michigan but Vibrant Life is doing it.  The State mandate requires testing of all residents of nursing homes and weekly testing of nursing home staff. This is problematic because not all senior care is considered “nursing homes.” In fact, Vibrant Life is not – we are categorized as assisted living. Therefore, the mandate does not apply us. Even so, we are testing. 

We now know that people can have the virus and be asymptomatic. Unfortunately, it is during the asymptomatic period when they are most contagious. This is why testing often is important. 

Vibrant Life follows all mandatory guidelines plus non-mandatory guidelines as appropriate for each community. We believe in doing what is right and what is working, not just the bare minimum defined in a mandate. 

Our staff is tested regularly even though we aren’t technically required to. 

Senior Care Community Education and Support

Vibrant Life created an innovative coalition between our senior communities, physicians, local hospitals and local health departments to enact pre-testing, and subsequent monitoring of Covid-19 positive residents. These coalitions have prevented the spread of the virus to others throughout the community.

In addition, we created a Public Service Announcement (PSA) video,“If You Don’t Get It, You Might Spread It” to educate people on preventing the spread of the virus. This was shared with our communities and also made available for all assisted living and senior care facilities to use in order to educate their staff and residents. 

What is Happening Specifically with Senior Care in Superior Township

In the last 30 days we have had no no staff test positive. Recently, we had four residents in our Covid-positive unit.  They all tested negative after two weeks and returned to their suites.  We have had two persons recently come back from the hospital who are still testing positive, and they are in the Covid-positive unit.  They both have been doing well.  This could be a case of the dormant situation explained below. 

What’s Next?

The next steps will likely be limited outdoor meetings with loved ones. Visitors will continue to be screened and have their temperature taken before they can participate. Family members and their loved one who is a resident of Vibrant Life will be able to meet outside for a limited amount of time while practicing safe social distancings. Short walks or sitting outside will be allowed.

Dormant Positive Testing

People who have had the virus sometimes test positive for a long time – up to 60 days and beyond. This can be the case for people who were symptomatic or asymptomatic.  The professionals are beginning to think that even when someone recovers from the virus, it can lay dormant in the body. This can result in a positive test, but it may not be active in a person’s body. 

They think it may not be transferrable or contagious at that time either.  When someone tests positive, and is not in the hospital, we put them in our Covid-positive units.  They would return from the units to their suites when they test negative.  So, if they keep testing positive, that would be a problem.  We will keep conferring with our physicians and health departments as we deal with this issue on an individual basis. 

We are very happy to report that each positive resident who recovered and moved out of the Covid unit has not re-tested as positive since. 

Interested In Learning More?

Our location in Superior Township near Ann Arbor is accepting new residents at this time. We offer virtual tours of all of our locations. We also schedule virtual meetings to answer all of your questions and provide information on the process for moving in a new resident. Please contact us (734) 484-4740 or visit our website for more information.

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What’s Next for Senior Care in Temperance?

Senior Care in Temperance, including Assisted Living and Memory Care, has changed drastically in the last few months due to the Covid-19 outbreak. As the state starts to open back up again, what does that mean for senior care?

The senior population is one of the most vulnerable to coronavirus. Many assisted living and senior care residency locations where hit hard by the virus.

Why are Vibrant Life’s numbers of positive cases so low?

How to Keep Covid-19 Out of Senior Care in Temperance

Strict guidelines, proactive testing, and community education are the three top things that will keep Covid-19 number down.

Strict Guidelines

Rules and protocol must remain very strict — even as other types of businesses like restaurants, retail stores, salons, etc. start to invite the public in again. Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, Vibrant Life has been at the forefront of executing safety measures and we plan on continuing a very cautious and proactive approach.

Please check out What We Are Doing to keep you Safe, Healthy, and Vibrant During Covid-19 for a complete list of all the changes, protocols, and safety measures we have in place.

Proactive Testing

Vibrant Life has provided more testing for our staff and residents than most. Proactive testing is still unusual in the State of Michigan but Vibrant Life is doing it.  The State mandate requires testing of all residents of nursing homes and weekly testing of nursing home staff. This is problematic because not all senior care is considered “nursing homes.” In fact, Vibrant Life is not – we are categorized as assisted living. Therefore, the mandate does not apply us. Even so, we are testing. 

We now know that people can have the virus and be asymptomatic. Unfortunately, it is during the asymptomatic period when they are most contagious. This is why testing often is important. 

Vibrant Life follows all mandatory guidelines plus non-mandatory guidelines as appropriate for each community. We believe in doing what is right and what is working, not just the bare minimum defined in a mandate. 

Our staff is tested regularly even though we aren’t technically required to. 

Senior Care Community Education and Support

Vibrant Life created an innovative coalition between our senior communities, physicians, local hospitals and local health departments to enact pre-testing, and subsequent monitoring of Covid-19 positive residents. These coalitions have prevented the spread of the virus to others throughout the community.

In addition, we created a Public Service Announcement (PSA) video,“If You Don’t Get It, You Might Spread It” to educate people on preventing the spread of the virus. This was shared with our communities and also made available for all assisted living and senior care facilities to use in order to educate their staff and residents. 

What’s Next?

The next steps will likely be limited outdoor meetings with loved ones. Visitors will continue to be screened and have their temperature taken before they can participate. Family members and their loved one who is a resident of Vibrant Life will be able to meet outside for a limited amount of time while practicing safe social distancings. Short walks or sitting outside will be allowed.

Senior Care in Temperance: Above and Beyond

Vibrant Life was one of the first senior communities to test all residents in all of our facilities. Temperance was our first community to have a positive tested resident in late March. We immediately tested everyone here (and in our other locations.) We separated out all the negative and positive residents.  

Temperance has not had a new positive tested resident in over five weeks. 

Dormant Positive Testing

People who have had the virus sometimes test positive for a long time – up to 60 days and beyond. This can be the case for people who were symptomatic or asymptomatic.  The professionals are beginning to think that even when someone recovers from the virus, it can lay dormant in the body. This can result in a positive test, but it may not be active in a person’s body. 

They think it may not be transferrable or contagious at that time either.  When someone tests positive, and is not in the hospital, we put them in our Covid-positive units.  They would return from the units to their suites when they test negative.  So, if they keep testing positive, that would be a problem.  We will keep conferring with our physicians and health departments as we deal with this issue on an individual basis. 

We are very happy to report that each positive resident who recovered and moved out of the Covid unit has not re-tested as positive since. 

Interested In Learning More?

Our location in Temperance is accepting new residents at this time. We offer virtual tours of all of our locations. We also schedule virtual meetings to answer all of your questions and provide information on the process for moving in a new resident. Please contact us 734-487-3217 or visit our website for more information.

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What’s Next for Senior Care in Kalamazoo?

Senior Care in Kalamazoo, Michigan, including Assisted Living and Memory Care, has changed drastically in the last few months due to the Covid-19 outbreak. As the state starts to open back up again, what does that mean for senior care?

The senior population is one of the most vulnerable to coronavirus. Many assisted living and senior care residency locations where hit hard by the virus.

Why are Vibrant Life’s numbers of positive cases so low?

How to Keep Covid-19 Out of Senior Care in Kalamazoo

Strict guidelines, proactive testing, and community education are the three top things that will keep Covid-19 number down.

Strict Guidelines

Rules and protocol must remain very strict — even as other types of businesses like restaurants, retail stores, salons, etc. start to invite the public in again. Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, Vibrant Life has been at the forefront of executing safety measures and we plan on continuing a very cautious and proactive approach.

Please check out What We Are Doing to keep you Safe, Healthy, and Vibrant During Covid-19 for a complete list of all the changes, protocols, and safety measures we have in place.

Proactive Testing

Vibrant Life has provided more testing for our staff and residents than most. Proactive testing is still unusual in the State of Michigan but Vibrant Life is doing it.  The State mandate requires testing of all residents of nursing homes and weekly testing of nursing home staff. This is problematic because not all senior care is considered “nursing homes.” In fact, Vibrant Life is not – we are categorized as assisted living. Therefore, the mandate does not apply us. Even so, we are testing. 

We now know that people can have the virus and be asymptomatic. Unfortunately, it is during the asymptomatic period when they are most contagious. This is why testing often is important. 

Vibrant Life follows all mandatory guidelines plus non-mandatory guidelines as appropriate for each community. We believe in doing what is right and what is working, not just the bare minimum defined in a mandate. 

Our staff is tested regularly even though we aren’t technically required to. 

Senior Care Community Education and Support

Vibrant Life created an innovative coalition between our senior communities, physicians, local hospitals and local health departments to enact pre-testing, and subsequent monitoring of Covid-19 positive residents. These coalitions have prevented the spread of the virus to others throughout the community.

In addition, we created a Public Service Announcement (PSA) video,“If You Don’t Get It, You Might Spread It” to educate people on preventing the spread of the virus. This was shared with our communities and also made available for all assisted living and senior care facilities to use in order to educate their staff and residents. 

What is Happening Specifically with Senior Care in Kalamazoo

Our New Friends Memory Care and senior care location in Kalamazoo, fortunately has had no positive tests of any resident or staff.  We proactively tested everyone a few weeks ago and have had no positive tests.  Congratulations to all the staff at New Friends for socially distancing, having great infection control, and not bringing in the virus from the community. This is no small feat and a huge success. 

We are also excited to announce that our very own Laurel Space is participating in the Alzheimer’s Association‘s ECHO program, which aims to enhance the long-term care community’s ability to respond to emergencies, such as COVID-19.

There are only FIVE communities in Michigan who were accepted to this program and Vibrant Life is one of them. The ECHO program uses video conferencing technology to connect dementia care experts with leaders from assisted living communities.

The five-week program explores topics within the Alzheimer’s Association Emergency Preparedness: Caring for persons living with dementia in a long-term or community-based care setting.

The series will focus on emergency preparedness to equip communities for COVID-19 and other emergencies. Participating communities develop case presentations about challenges to receive real-time feedback from peers and experts.

What’s Next?

The next steps will likely be limited outdoor meetings with loved ones. Visitors will continue to be screened and have their temperature taken before they can participate. Family members and their loved one who is a resident of Vibrant Life will be able to meet outside for a limited amount of time while practicing safe social distancings. Short walks or sitting outside will be allowed.

Dormant Positive Testing

People who have had the virus sometimes test positive for a long time – up to 60 days and beyond. This can be the case for people who were symptomatic or asymptomatic.  The professionals are beginning to think that even when someone recovers from the virus, it can lay dormant in the body. This can result in a positive test, but it may not be active in a person’s body. 

They think it may not be transferrable or contagious at that time either.  When someone tests positive, and is not in the hospital, we put them in our Covid-positive units.  They would return from the units to their suites when they test negative.  So, if they keep testing positive, that would be a problem.  We will keep conferring with our physicians and health departments as we deal with this issue on an individual basis. 

We are very happy to report that each positive resident who recovered and moved out of the Covid unit has not re-tested as positive since. 

Interested In Learning More?

Our location in Kalamazoo is accepting new residents at this time. We offer virtual tours of all of our locations. We also schedule virtual meetings to answer all of your questions and provide information on the process for moving in a new resident. Please contact us (269) 372-6100 or visit our website for more information.

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Assisted Living and Covid-19: How We are Caring for People

Assisted Living and Covid-19

What We Are Doing to keep you Safe, Healthy, and Vibrant During Covid-19

At Vibrant Life Senior Living, we take our responsibility to keep people safe very seriously –  and that includes all the people in our communities –  those who live there, work there and their families.  We also know that at the same time, we need to keep caring for the people who live at Vibrant Life and help them to continue enjoying life as best as possible. 

Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, Vibrant Life has been at the forefront of executing safety measures. This has allowed us to keep our positive cases very low. We have provided more testing for our staff and residents than most. Vibrant Life has been featured in the news recently regarding our efforts. 1,500 tested for coronavirus at Kalamazoo County nursing homes in a single day

Below are just some of things that we have done to keep people vibrant and safe  during this Covid-19 crisis:  (note: the items listed below are used in different Vibrant Life Communities. Not all items are done in all communities.  These items are as June 1, 2020 and are applicable for the current mandates as given by the Governor in her Executive Orders.  As those orders change, there will be the appropriate changes to our protocol). 

How We Care For People during Covid-19

  • We have a Covid-19 Infection Committee that meets weeklyAssisted Living and Covid-19. Test vial for Covid-19
  • We have a conference call with all the communities weekly
  • We employ Empathy, Patience, Resilience and Teamwork
  • WE TEST OUR RESIDENTS REGULARLY AND UPON ANY POSITIVE TESTS IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD
  • We have special Covid-19 units if someone has been tested positive
  • We use PPE equipment if there is a positive Covid resident or in our Covid-19 positive unit
  • We practice Social Distancing
  • We wash our hands constantly
  • We monitor residents and staff daily for Covid
  • We take staff and resident temperature two times per day
  • We take residents vitals daily
  • We check-in every individual who comes to our door:
    • We take their temperature
    • They fill out an extensive questionnaire
    • They must wear a mask

How We Keep our Buildings Clean and Safe and Covid-19 free

  • We have increased our sanitation with daily wipe downs
  • We clean bathrooms daily
  • We use special Covid-19 cleaning agents for infection control
  • We have built our own Covid-19 units (when there is a positive tested Covid-19 person in the building)
  • We do not allow staff to go building to building if there are any residents who have tested positive in the last 14 days. 
  • We do not allow Managers to go building to building, if there are any residents who have tested positive in the last 14 days. 
  • We have special procedures for food and supply drop-offs

How We Help People Live a Vibrant LifeAssisted Living and Covid-19 outside walks

  • We give everyone special attention
  • We focus on people having MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS
  • We help people do WHAT THEY WANT TO DO
  • We do innovative Door to Door Activities – they are in their doorway
  • We help people with individual exercising in their rooms
  • We broadcast Spiritual Services
  • We have individual art projects
  • We have outdoor one-one-one time
  • We ZOOM, FACETIME, AND SKYPE WITH FAMILIES AND FRIENDS
  • We have “distance” entertaining
  • We have on-line entertainment
  • WE LOVE HALLWAY BINGO
  • We do Sensory activities, especially those with more severe dementia

How We Have Changed How People Dine 

  • We employ “Doorway Dining” – some people eat in their doorway so they can see others and we can see them
  • We do outdoor grilling when we the weather allows
  • We sometimes use some disposable items for safety
  • People eat separately in their rooms
  • We provide food rich in Vitamin C
  • We have lots of snacks throughout the day along with their three delicious meals

How We Hire and Appreciate People

  • We do Phone Interviews
  • We have Outdoor InterviewsAssisted Living and Covid-19 sidewalk chalk
  • We do Bus Interviews in our driveway
  • We pay “HERO” pay
  • We have 12 hour shifts when necessary
  • We love to give Gifts to our amazing Staff
  • We love to give Groceries for Staff
  • Our Managers work the floor
  • We have the same amount of shifts – but with less people who are more devoted
  • We are Using Universal Worker Approach (everyone does everything!) 
  • We have More Education for Staff

What Our Administration Does Differently

  • Regular Family Memo’s (weekly or bi-monthly) 
  • Family Zoom Meetings

    Assisted Living and Covid-19 window meeting

  • Regular Communication with Individual families
  • Managers spend more time with residents
  • We are Teaching More.  
  • We are ordering lots of PPE!

How Our Sales, Marketing and Community Outreach has Changed

  • We do Virtual Tours
  • We try and post daily on Facebook  
  • We talk to you more on the phone!  
  • We now have Zoom meetings
  • We do Virtual Assessments
  • We Support local businesses

If you have any questions at all about Assisted Living and Covid-19 and what we are doing to ensure everyone’s safety, please do not hesitate to contact any of our locations and speak directly to staff. We are taking new residents and adhere to the guidelines set forth by the health department and our own due diligence. We also offer virtual tours of any our buildings and residences.

We are also updating our site regularly with any new information about coronavirus that is urgent or helpful to our staff, families, residents, and the community in general. You can find that information here.

A Frontline Perspective from Assisted Living in Temperance, Michigan

Meet the Executive Director for Vibrant Life’s facility for assisted living in Temperance, Michigan, Catherine Reese.

Catie has assisted living in temperance michiganworked for Vibrant Life since 2016 when she was first hired as a staffing coordinator. Her experience and hard work quickly earned her a promotion to Human Resource Manager and then in 2018 she became the facility’s Executive Director. 

Catie is also the Regional Director for Vibrant Life and meets regularly with the executive directors of our other communities, The Lodge of Durand, Superior Township (Ann Arbor), and New Friends in Kalamazoo.

Normally should would regularly visit each facility, but due to Covid-19 these meetings are now being held over Zoom. 

In addition to her work experience, Catie is involved with The Michigan Center for Assisted Living (MCAL) which is a division of the Health Care Association of Michigan (HCAM). Catie completed their CALD program in October 2019 and is a Certified Assisted Living Director.

When asked why she chose the field of senior care, Catie said, “I really like working with seniors because I like to advocate for them. I want to ensure they have their rights, are treated fairly, and most of all I want them to be happy.”

Catie is a big believer in knowing your “why” for what you do. She regularly asks her staff what their “why” is. My why is that I lost my dad and grandma in hospice. I felt like they weren’t treated fairly. I want to make a difference and be an example. When you find your why you work more passionately.” 

When Catie isn’t working she enjoys painting and kayak fishing with her husband and two children. They recently moved from Monroe to Adrian and live on 2.5 acres with their two dogs and a cat.

A Day in the Life of Assisted Living in Temperance, Michigan

As Executive Director, Catie starts each day visiting with the residents. She inquires about their health and if they had any problems during the night. She stays updated daily with how each one is feeling . Then she meets with her staff and department heads. Catie’s duties also include communicating regularly and often with the families of residents. 

“My main goal is to ensure families feel comfortable during this time and that they know they can ask questions.” 

Daily operations also include budgets, project management, and providing direction and support to each department. 

How has your job changed due to Covid-19?

As you can imagine, all four Vibrant Life Communities have been on the frontlines of combatting Covid-19. Catie shared what they are doing and how life has changed in assisted living in Temperance.

“The biggest changes are that residents are isolated to their rooms. They eat in their room and do activities in their rooms. We are keeping everyone separate. The staff all wear masks and we are not allowing any visitors. We do have window visits.”

As with all the Vibrant Life locations, the only visitors that are allowed are family members of residents who are in the process of passing on. In this situation we take every precaution possible and everyone involved is fully gowned and wear masks.

Each staff member is assigned to a specific building and no one is going between buildings. The staff are working with residents in their rooms to keep them physically and mental busy. This includes chair exercises, games, and activities.

“I think the hardest thing for the staff and residents is not being able to socialize in a group setting. Not having them out in the common areas is a challenge. And of course,  no communal dining and visits with families.” Catie admits.

They have been utilizing phone and video calls and allow window visits with the windows closed.

“It is going really well with Zoom and in some cases families are communicating a lot more than they did before the lock down. We also moved some of the residents’ rooms around to provide for better isolation. They like their new rooms and it has perked them up a bit.”

A New Challenge in Memory Care

A new challenge during this time is felt deepest with the memory care residents. Because staff are required to wear masks at all times, many residents have a hard time recognizing them. It is also impossible to read lips, as many residents who are hard of hearing rely on this ability.

“We are going to start putting pictures of the staff on their gowns so the residents can see who they are talking to. I think this will help a lot,” Catie explained. The have also been decorating their gowns and keeping things colorful as a way to entertain and cheer up the residents and each other.

With the warmer weather the staff have been taking individual residents outside from time to time. They sanitize the porches between each visit.

When asked if the current Covid-19 protocol will inspire permanent changes in operations, Catie had this to say, “We will definitely keep a bigger supply of PPE items in stock. We will also be more cautious of how many people are in groups and will adjust our activities to smaller groups.”

The silver lining in this difficult time is the outpouring of support from the residents’ families and from many vendors and suppliers.  Many have provided food for the staff and emotional support as well. The dining staff have been taking requests and making many favorite family recipes.

Catie lined the driveway with signs to encourage her staff to keep up the great work.

“I really appreciate the residents and the staff and am extremely blessed to work here. I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.” Catie Reese, Executive Director, Vibrant Life Assisted Living in Temperance, Michigan. 

assisted living in temperance michigan

Would You Like More Information?

Vibrant Life is providing Virtual Tours of all 4 of our locations. If you or a loved one is in need of assisted living, senior living, or memory care, we can provide the answers and resources to answer your questions.

You can visit our website for information on each community.

We are also updating our site regularly with any new information about coronavirus that is urgent or helpful to our staff, families, residents, and the community in general. You can find that information here.

Additional Resources

Musical Minute – Social Distancing with Song!

Message to Families of Vibrant Life Senior Living Residents from Dean Solden

A Frontline Perspective from Assisted Living in Durand

Vibrant Life’s facility for assisted living in Durand has a new Executive Director. Jeri Birchmeier is an LPN and holds a Bachelor’s assisted living in DurandDegree in Health Care Administration. She has worked in both hospitals and long term care facilities.  Jeri lives on a farm, with her husband and two children, and has 300 cattle! 

Like Angie Hanson, our Executive Director in our Ann Arbor facility, Jeri started her career here at Vibrant Life just days before the shelter-in-place order. She had to wait 8 days for her COVID-19 test to come back negative before she could physically enter her new work place.

We caught up with Jeri to talk about her position, what a typical day is like, and how things have changed because of the quarantine.

“Vibrant Life has such a great reputation in this industry. I have been working in the long-term care industry for over fifteen years and when this opportunity became available, I knew it was time to come work for Dean and Rob.”

When asked why she chose the field of assisted living, Jeri revealed, “Memory care is where my heart is.”

Jeri started her medical career as an emergency room nurse. She then transitioned to orthopedics and eventually neurology, which also includes dementia. 

“I didn’t have grandparents growing up but I am particularly passionate about helping seniors navigate their new normal (the onset of dementia and participating in memory care.)”

A Typical Day for Assisted Living in Durand

It’s hard to talk about a “normal” day due to the quarantine, but Jeri’s daily duties include checking in with all of her staff to see how things are going. She inquires on how the residents were throughout the night and if anyone had any issues. She reads through the notes for all them and then she helps get everything ready for breakfast.

Jeri spends a lot of time talking to patients. Because of her extensive background in nursing, she has unique insights into the medical side of resident care. This includes corrective measures, offering suggestions, educating the staff, and helping families cope with the everyday struggles of having a loved with dementia. 

Jeri also runs the day-to-day operations of the facility including budgets, financials, and monitoring census (occupancy). 

Vibrant Life’s Lodge of Durand facility is actually made up of two buildings, referred to as lodges. One is dedicated to assisted living and the other is dedicated to memory care.

RelatedWhat’s Happening inside Senior Communities During the Virus Crisis

A Passion for Memory Care in Durand

Jeri revealed that she is really excited to improve the memory care facility to offer more therapy for residents with dementia.

“It is really crucial to provide activities that keep the mind and body going.” Jeri explained that most of the residents spent the majority of their lives working, either at jobs or as homemakers. So providing stability and opportunities for them to do the things they enjoy goes a long way to dealing positively with dementia.

“Things like a baby changing station, putting together small machines, sensory stations like rubbing sequins blanket, and even helping with cleaning, are all things our residents can do. The more we make them aware of their environment the less behavioral issues we have and often they require less medication too.” Jeri said.

How Assisted Living in Durand has Changed Due to Covid-19

Note: At the time of this interview, the entire facility (including staff and residents) had zero confirmed cases of Covid-19. 

Isolation. Each lodge is isolated and working, more or less, independently of each other, rather than together.  Certain staff are assigned to specific lodges and only work in one building.

Restricted Visitors. Vibrant Life, across all locations, have restricted all visitors and community support from physically entering the buildings. Upon arriving for work all staff members much ring the doorbell and answer seven questions.

Screening for Covid-19. Each staff member has their temperature taken and once cleared, they can come in. In addition, their temperature is taking at least one more time during their shift.

Outside Items. Anything that is delivered to the facility is disinfected at the door.

Cleaning. The entire facility is disinfected 3 times a day with bleach water. Staff are wearing masks at all times. There has also been a switch to using plastic utensils. 

How are residents handling the quarantine?

“The residents are lonely and the memory care patients don’t understand why these changes are being made.” Jeri also explained that even though this is the case, they are seeing less behavioral issues in general. This is mostly due to the lack of transition because families aren’t visiting. “Sometimes we see certain behaviors after family leave (from visiting) are we aren’t seeing that right now.”

Instead, the staff is utilizing technology like Zoom and Facetime to connect residents with their families during this time. They have started scheduling these times per resident so they can look forward to the communication and allows the staff to ensure every person gets a turn.

assisted living in Durand

Positive Outcomes in a Difficult Time

“Of course families are nervous, but they have been extremely supportive of our efforts. Our staff has been amazing and I feel like we are closer because of this.” Jeri said. “All the Executive Directors for the Vibrant Life locations have been really supportive of each other. We have regular group calls which is helpful.”

The staff is also in daily communication with the health department and there are emotional support groups available as well. The Shiawassee Health Department can provide counseling over the phone. 

“I think we are doing a great job here. I have a lot of tired staff but they are doing amazing. Our residents are happy and that is what we aim for. “

As Vibrant Life Founder and Co-owner Dean Solden says, ” we are delighted that Jeri is now a part of our Vibrant Life family here at the Lodge of Durand.  She has great knowledge and an equally huge heart.  She’s going to make a huge difference in  lot of people’s lives.  We’re looking forward to working with her for years to come.”

Would You Like More Information?

Vibrant Life is providing Virtual Tours of all 4 of our locations. If you or a loved one is in need of assisted living, senior living, or memory care, we can provide the answers and resources to answer your questions.

You can visit our website for information on each community.

We are also updating our site regularly with any new information about coronavirus that is urgent or helpful to our staff, families, residents, and the community in general. You can find that information here.

Additional Resources

Musical Minute – Social Distancing with Song!

Message to Families of Vibrant Life Senior Living Residents from Dean Solden

New PSA Music Video – IF YOU DON’T GET IT, YOU MIGHT SPREAD IT, by Dean Solden

Hello everyone,

During this difficult time, we all need to find some ways to let off some steam, and get some stress release. As many of you know, music helps me, as I am also as professional musician, besides being Founder of Vibrant Life and a part of the Management Team.

A few weeks ago, late at night, I wrote a tune called, If you don’t get it, you might spread it.  It was originally intended for our young staff, who early on in the virus crisis, were still learning the ropes about social distancing, hand washing and staying at home.  It evolved into a general message to the public.

I did an original “home-video” version.  Now, with the help of some friends across the country, mostly done in our home studios, we have made a more professional version of the song.  You can find it on youtube, and you can find it right here.

Please pass this on to any person or group you feel still needs the reminder.  It also may help you move your feet around a bit!

Enjoy, stay home, and stay safe,

Dean Solden, Founder, Vibrant Life Senior Living

deansoldenmusic.com     deansolden.vibrantlife@gmail.com

 

A Frontline Perspective from Assisted Living in Ann Arbor

Vibrant Life’s facility for assisted living in Ann Arbor has a new Executive Director. Angie Hanson had no idea she would have to start her assisted living in ann arbor new career managing a world-wide pandemic. However, her experience and management style is enhancing our Ann Arbor community and bringing the staff and residents together in these strange times.

We caught up with her to talk about her position, what a typical day is like, and how things have changed because of the quarantine.

“I officially started a couple days before the shelter in place order, so I worked from home and got tested for Covid-19. When it came back negative I could go into the facility.” Hanson said.

She is not new to the world of senior care, having worked in the field for over 14 years. Hanson originally went to school for teaching and took a job in assisted living while finishing college. She connected with the residents and her co-workers and pivoted her career. “I am still educating people every day, just in a different capacity.”

RelatedWhat’s Happening inside Senior Communities During the Virus Crisis

A Typical Day for an Assisted Living Executive Director

During the coronavirus pandemic, nothing is really typically. However, Hanson’s daily duties are always about communication. She walks the facility, touching base with staff and residents. She checks in at least twice a day with each department, such as dining, maintenance, and activities. Hanson is always monitoring the facility’s census (number of residents), planning for upcoming staff training, and communicating changes.  

“I need to know how each department is doing and what they need. Daily operations take up most of my time. I am also in charge of hiring new staff, budgets, receipts, things like that.” Hanson explains.

The best results always happen out of trust.

You have to build relationships.”

Angie Hanson, Executive Director Vibrant Life Superior Township

Hanson takes a team approach to making decisions and solving problems. For example, if a resident develops depression, she will talk to the family. the nurse, the activities director, and even the dining staff. They will all provide their input on what each area can do to help the resident. It might be more communication with their family. making a favorite dish, doing a craft, going outside, or a medication consideration. The solution is always a team effort.

“I don’t make decisions by myself. I consider the whole team. It’s my job to figure out how to best communicate information,” Hanson explained.

How Assisted Living in Ann Arbor has Changed Due to Covid-19

The facility is made up of separate buildings that are called Lodges. Now, especially during the virus crisis, each lodge is isolated and working, more or less, independently of each other, rather than together.  Certain staff are assigned to specific lodges and only work in one building. Residents now eat in their rooms, but Hanson and her team came up with a creative solution that makes this shift easier for everyone.

They have set up TV tray tables in the doorways of the residents’ rooms. This way, they can still see each other down the hall, staff can interact with them, and assist the residents with their meals when needed. “We have even able to call bingo this way, so that has been fun.” Hanson explained.

They are still celebrating birthdays and having fun wherever they can.

Health Department Assistance

The health department in Ann Arbor has provide critical support. They have assigned a nurse and physician to the facility. Hanson can all them anytime with questions,  get resources, or to develop solutions to new issues.

Hanson revealed that one of the hardest things about the current situation is fear. “Our staff is fearful that they may have it (coronavirus) and expose others. They work here all day and then go home to their families. They worry they will expose their families. We are all taking a lot of time  reassuring each other and we know we are in this together. When we go home we sanitize and shower up.” 

It is very hard on essential workers because not only are they at work providing needed services, they have the added duty of reassuring their own families and keeping them calm.

Assisted Living in Ann Arbor

“We can be fearful and nervous, but this is bad for our bodies – too much cortisol is created.  I reassure them, and they motivate them to stay positive.  It is so cool to watch how everyone is coming together.”

With the use of masks inside the facility (all staff are wearing them at all times) it has posed some problems for residents. Many residents who are hard of hearing rely on lip reading to understand staff, so that has been a challenge. Memory care patients don’t always recognize the staff either, because of the masks.

Finding the Good

In additional to the health protocols that have been put in place, Hanson reveals that the biggest positive change that has developed is more one-on-one time with the residents. Staff has had more time to sit and color, share pictures, hear stories, and just really connect.

“It’s has been fun watching the staff interact with our residents. They are doing creative things, taking walks, enjoying the courtyard, and even eating with the residents – at a distance, of course.”

Vibrant Life has been utilizing technology a lot more and residents have been utilizing zoom,  skype and facetime to talk with families.  Many of them have been able to connect to a family member they haven’t talked with in a long time. 

Hanson admitted, “I can’t believe we haven’t been utilizing these available services all along, but we will continue to do so in the future, even when the ban is lifted.”

The dining staff have been making more favorite dishes and utilizing some of the residents’ family recipes.

The New Universal Worker

Due to isolating lodges and new protocols, each staff members has really pitched in to take on more tasks, many of which are new to them. They are forming new ideas and ways to do things together differently. “They are really getting excited about it and have great ideas. I’d like this to be the new model on what we are doing by enhancing the teamwork approach we already have in place.” Hanson explained. 

An Outpouring of Support

Hanson gushed about how caring and thankful the residents’ family members have been. One family has been shipping candy to the staff. Another one bought lunch for the whole community. They have also received countless kind words, emails, and messages of gratitude and encouragement.

“When you go through hardships this sort of thing really shines.”  

Are Assisted Living Facilities Taking New Residents? 

Yes, they are. As you can imagine, there are strict protocols put in place. The first being a required Covid-19 test. Only residents who test negative are allowed to move in at this point.

Vibrant Life Superior is also actively hiring employees, with the same requirements.

In addition, this facility has one entire lodge that is ready to assist with hospital overflow. It is has been sanitized and closed to current staff and residents. The types of patients and level of care has not be determined at this point, but the Health Department is aware that the space is available if needed.

Would You Like More Information?

Vibrant Life is providing Virtual Tours of all 4 of our locations. If you or a loved one is in need of assisted living, senior living, or memory care, we can provide the answers and resources to answer your questions.

You can visit our website for information on each community.

We are also updating our site regularly with any new information about coronavirus that is urgent or helpful to our staff, families, residents, and the community in general. You can find that information here.

Additional Resources

Musical Minute – Social Distancing with Song!

Message to Families of Vibrant Life Senior Living Residents from Dean Solden

What’s Happening inside Senior Communities During the Virus Crisis

By Dean Solden

During this Coronavirus Crisis, I’ve read and heard a lot about how difficult it has been for seniors, especially over 60, or 65, or 75 – but I haven’t read or heard about what it’s actually like inside a senior living community while this is all going on.  Well, I run senior living communities and I can tell you exactly what’s going on.

The first thing I can tell you is this – up to this point, the people who live with us in our senior communities at Vibrant Life Senior Living have been amazing.  They barely blinked when it was announced a few weeks ago that their families couldn’t come and visit them for fear of spreading the virus.  (There is always that one annoying relative).

And they haven’t been that upset about the virus itself.

Maybe they are not paying that much attention to it, or maybe this is one place where having just a little bit of dementia is a little protective.  We are not blasting the TV with Coronavirus news every minute and that may be helpful.  They are just not focusing on it as much as the rest of us are.

In this last week we keep getting notices from the many agencies that sends us such things – CDC, CMS, AHCA, our state, our licensing board, our trade associations – they have mandated us to restrict group activities and group dining.  As a result of that, our residents are starting to get a bit edgy.  They used to enjoy their routine of coming to the dining room three times a day and sitting at the same table with the same people.  They looked forward to being served by one of our staff members, with their wonderful smiles, and enjoying the little banter and jokes they have with them.  They liked gearing up and getting out of their room for some of their favorite activities during the day between meals. And they especially love the music.  Now two to three weeks into this ongoing situation, they are starting to get a little stir crazy. But for the most part, we haven’t seen as much depression as one would think.

Now the staff is a different matter, and I’ll talk about that in more detail another time.  I can tell you this – they are getting a little scared.  Here in Ann Arbor Michigan, we are just seeing and feeling the effects of the virus first hand.  The first few weeks we had a few scares – some staff got sick – but they all tested negative, when we could get them a test.  Unless they are showing virus symptoms, their doctors won’t test them.  Now people they know are starting to get tested positive, and that is scary.  We managers do all we can to reassure them, and also let them know they are our modern-day heroes. Their children and grandchildren will talk about them for years to come.  I truly am in awe of our staff – the people who work at Vibrant Life.

Some of the family members, however, are taking this hard.  Especially the ones who used to come everyday and visit and sit with their loved ones, and even give us a hand.  For many of you,  devoted spouses and friends, daughters, and sons, coming to our senior community every day has been a big part of your life.  You feel this as much, if not more, than our residents.  We truly feel for you and with you.

To counterbalance the lessening of activities and the loss of the visitors, we have been doing a lot of videoconferencing.  For the last few years, since the advent of Skype and Facetime, I’ve been wanting to do this, but it just never took off. Well, now it has.  Adding Zoom to the mix, we now have many families video-chatting almost every day.  We have people performing at home and sending in videos.  The “people who live here” love it!  They don’t always understand how they can see their loved one on a tablet in front of them, and they especially don’t get how they can see them on their phone – isn’t that for talking not seeing? But they are getting the hang of it.  They truly get immense pleasure from these video calls.  So, please, if you have been doing this –  keep doing it!

I don’t know what it is – maybe the people who live here have just gone through so much in their lives, from World War II to the Korean War, from the Vietnam War to 9-11,  or even just remembering their parents going through the depression –  but they are strong.  This is a different kind of crisis for them – this isn’t about food or shelter or money.  They still have their routines, they still have three meals a day, their naps, take their medications, banter with the staff, and watch their favorite programs.  And so far, they aren’t thinking too much about getting the virus, and the results it could have.

Yes, there have been inconveniences, they don’t get their visitors, and spending so much time in their room can get a little stir-crazy, and they don’t have their favorite entertainers coming in. But they are chugging through.  Maybe it’s because it’s just been a few weeks, and after you’ve lived for eighty or ninety years or more,  a few weeks is just a speck of time.  But I’ll tell you this, the people who live at Vibrant Life communities may be frail, but they’ve got steel in their veins.  Out of all of us, administration, staff, families and themselves, they have been the rock.  We don’t just have their back, they have ours.


About the author: Dean Solden is the founder and co-owner of Vibrant Life Senior Living, which has four communities throughout the state of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, and outside of Lansing and Toledo.  He is also  professional jazz musician and writer and loves the “people who live” and the “people who work” at Vibrant Life Communities.