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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Memory Care in Durand: Options for Dementia

Are you looking for Memory Care in Durand, 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 Durand 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 Durand: 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.

The Different Levels of Memory Care in Durand

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 Durand location, our memory care/dementia program has three different levels of care.

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

We have “lodges” all right next to each other on the same campus and look virtually exactly the same.  A person generally will be able to stay in their same room and lodge as time goes on, but occasionally they do move to another lodge.  However the rooms look identical. In this way we make all the transitions as smooth as possible.

Residents mostly interact with other residents who are at the same level so they are with people most similar to them.  We and our families have found this to be the most compassionate and a very effective way to provide our residents the highest quality of life. 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 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 Durandtic-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 Durand?

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 The Lodge of Durand, please click here or call (989)288-6561 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 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