Kenyon Senior Living

Pictured clockwise, from top left with “Topic of the Week” answers, Certified Nursing Assistant Elizabeth Gochnauer, Campus Administrator & Director of Development Chelsea Kalal, Eileen Bailey, Activity Staff Member Sandy Amundson, Barb Schaller, “happy” mail received from the community, Dietary Staff Member Natalie Bermudez visiting through the window outside with her dog and Roy Janousek. (Photos courtesy of Kenyon Senior Living)

<&firstgraph>Whether hosting one-on-one activities, setting up online meetings/video chats, developing “Topics of the Week” or encouraging members of the community to send mail, that staff at Kenyon Senior Living are keeping residents engaged and connected with family and friends through the facility’s extended closure to the public.

<&firstgraph>All departments — nursing, maintenance, dietary, laundry, housekeeping, administrative, activities and social service staff — play a key role in keeping residents healthy and safe.

<&firstgraph>Throughout the last several months, access to the facility has been restricted to staff, physical therapists and other essential service providers. Each person entering the facility is screened for COVID-19: asked if they have been exposed to a known case of COVID-19, have any symptoms of it or been in contact with anyone who has had it. Their temperature is also taken before they are allowed into the building, and then they are instructed to wash their hands/use hand sanitizer to clean their hands. Due to the high-risk population at Kenyon Senior Living, as well as federal and state guidelines, the restriction of group activities with residents and visitors will continue to be strictly controlled.

<&firstgraph>Although residents are unable to participate in group activities as they did before COVID-19 restrictions were put in place, activity staff members on duty stops by residents’ rooms for a one-on-one activity when time allows, to keep them active. Residents who like to keep active by walking the halls are still allowed to do so, but with some restrictions.

<&firstgraph>Director of Admissions, Social Services, Activities and Volunteer Coordinator Emily Quam says they try to limit hallway exercise/therapy to one person at a time, and whenever a resident leaves their room they must wear a mask. Meals are also directly to residents’ rooms.

<&firstgraph>“We are really trying to get everybody engaged in some way, shape or form and continue to be engaged in some way,” said Campus Administrator and Director of Development Chelsea Kalal.

<&firstgraph>Both Quam and Kalal encourage members of the local and surrounding communities to continue sending residents cards, pictures and notes as they brighten the days of both residents and staff. Other items welcomed through donations are word search books, coloring books and art supplies. Residents have also been enjoying getting the opportunity to video chat with family/friends. Quam said they have connected five or six residents with their families/friends so far.

<&firstgraph>Many generous, donors/organizations have also made cloth masks for both residents and staff to wear. Kalal said it’s “surprising” that even in three months, how much they have worn out. Quam added the high temperature of water required to wash the masks in also wears them down a lot faster. Any type of masks, whether cloth, surgical or N95, Kalal says are gladly accepted.

<&firstgraph>Although Quam and Kalal truly understand that it’s difficult for residents, families, visitors and volunteers to be away from each other, they want them to be able to come back sooner than later, so they are ultimately doing what they can to keep the virus from being at the facility.

<&firstgraph>“Most of the residents understand the basis of why we’re doing this,” said Quam of the restricted access keeping residents from seeing their family/friends. “But they’re also rightfully frustrated they can’t see their children, spouse, grandchildren. We understand it doesn’t seem fair, but it’s what we have to do to keep everyone safe.”

<&firstgraph>Some family members/friends have gotten creative in being able to safely see their loved one. Quam said they’ve had some people come to the front door see a resident while talking to them over the phone.

<&firstgraph>Kalal said keeping employees safe, who are still risking their health by coming to work, is also a key priority in the equation.

<&firstgraph>“In general, we truly do understand and appreciate everyone’s patience during this, we know it’s difficult for residents, families, visitors, volunteers,” said Kalal. “But we want to make sure we are providing them a safe place to live and safe place for the 80 employees who work there.”

Reach reporter Michelle Vlasak at 507-333-3128 or follow her on Twitter @apgmichelle. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

Load comments