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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