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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Memory Care in Temperance: Options for Dementia

Are you looking for Memory Care in Temperance, Michigan, or surrounding areas? The good news is that you have options, even though it is never an easy decision to make for a loved one.

If you are struggling with this decision or aren’t sure if it is the right time, we encourage to you read When Is It Time for Assisted Living?

The very fact that you are researching this possibility means that it is time for some sort of senior care or assisted living. We speak with many families on a weekly basis who are in the same place you are right now. The question really isn’t “Is it time?” but rather, “What level of care is needed at this time?

Note: During this difficult time of quarantine and Covid-19, there are many precautions and additional things to consider. Please read Assisted Living & Memory Care in Temperance Coronavirus Updates and Information for information about specific changes and new protocols. Later in this article, we address some very creative solutions to combating dementia and Alzheimer’s during this time of isolation.

Memory Care in Temperance: Things to considermemory care in kalamazoo

When someone starts experiencing dementia it is a confusing time for the whole family. Each case is unique and the rate of progression is different for each person. However, in all cases there comes a time when it just isn’t safe for the person to live alone or to be left alone for any significant amount of time.

This is why it is so important to choose an assisted living residence that has several different levels of care. This is often referred to as aging in place. Your loved one can move in at the level that makes sense for where they are today and can easily transition to more care as they need it. Unfortunately, with dementia and memory care later in life, people will generally decline. They will need more care at some point.

It is also really important that they have a stable and familiar environment as their dementia progresses. Lots of moves and changes will make a difficult situation even harder, so aging in place in a really important consideration.

Different Levels of Memory Care in Temperance

memory care in kalamazoo

The best kind of memory care provides compassionate care and 24-hour supervision in a comfortable environment that feels like home.

Unlike most memory care communities, at Vibrant Life’s Assisted Living and Memory Care Temperance location, we see memory care/dementia as having three different levels of care.

  1. Early-stage memory care
  2. Middle stage memory care
  3. Later stage memory care

Residents mostly interact with other residents who are at the same level so they are with people most similar to them.  We try and place people in the appropriate setting for their level of care and dementia. All of our Carefriends are specially trained to provide the highest quality of care in a respectful, dignified, and loving way. Our staff works with each resident and their families to determine what level of cognition they have when they first come to us. We also all work as a team to decide when and if  it becomes beneficial to move to a different level of care and potentially different memory care “lodge.”

Our personalized care plans encompass everything from assistance with everyday activities like grooming and dining to programming that encourages hobbies and relationship building.

Music and Memory Care in Temperance tic-toc choir

Music is a very big part of the culture at all of the Vibrant Life communities. We use it every day to provide peace and joy. The Music Program here is second to none and utilizes the latest research and developments in how music helps with dementia. Click here to find out more.

RelatedThe Science Behind Music Therapy to Combat Dementia

Our Tic-Toc Choir has gained local fame with their music video “Don’t Define Me, Just Remind Me” and a documentary that was made about the choir called The Spirit of Caring. Check them out!

How Has Covid-19 Coronavirus Changed Assisted Living in Temperance?

Isolation is hard on everyone but it is especially hard on those dealing with dementia. We are finding new and creative ways to keep our residents engaged and active while still maintaining safety measures. Here a few things we are doing:

  • Eating in doorways. Now that our residents are isolated to their rooms we set up tray tables in their doorways during meal times. This allows them to see each other and socialize.  We also call bingo and provided music and singing this way, too.
  • More 1 on 1 time with staff. Both the staff and residents are enjoying getting to know each other better.
  • Video Calls. We are utilizing Zoom and Facetime for our residents to connect with family. Many people have reported that they are communicating even more now than before the pandemic due to this technology.
  • Physical Activity. Many people with dementia and memory issues tend to wander. We are allowing our ambulatory residents individual time to walk around the community and go outside when weather permits. They always have a staff member with them and this helps with restlessness.
  • Staff Pictures on Shirts. All of our staff wear face masks at all times, which can make it hard for our residents to recognize them and ready their lips. Some of our staff have started to put a large picture of themselves on the front of their shirts. This has really helped.

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. For information specific to our Temperance Community, please click here or call (734) 847-3217 to speak with our Director of Admissions and Community Relations.

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 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

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