The Laureate Way

Articles to Help Families and Older Adults Manage the Challenges of Aging

How COVID-19 is Changing Senior Living

How COVID-19 is Changing Senior Living

The COVID-19 virus has taken all of us on quite a journey. This is the first time I’ve been on a journey like this, and it’s been a learning experience watching how COVID-19 is changing senior living. However, some of the people who live a Laureate Group Senior Community located in Southeastern Wisconsin have experienced something like this before.

“Quarantined!” in 1935

For example, there’s a story in the book Laureate Group Senior Communities published, Portraits of the 21st Century, called “Quarantined!”

The author, Elizabeth Mann, shares how in 1935, the Ocks Family who had 12 children were quarantined during the scarlet fever outbreak in Milwaukee. The family couldn’t leave the house. Elizabeth recalls: 

...there was “no radio, no tv, only our own ingenuity and inventive ideas for keeping busy.”

Polio Epidemic Story

In another story published in March of 1986 in the Los Angeles Times titled “All Too Vivid Memory of a Polio Epidemic,” Nancy Peterson Walker wrote about the polio outbreak, stating:

I lived in South Milwaukee and during the summer of 1948 the world seemed to close in on children. The beaches at Lake Michigan were closed, the movie houses closed, children were not to ride on the buses, they were not to go to public areas such as parks and playgrounds, I was not allowed to go to the grocery store, and the summer dragged on as the opening of school was delayed until early October.”

How COVID-19 is Changing Senior Living

Senior Living Communities have their own cadence. Particular people sit in familiar chairs at the same time of day: breakfast at 8:00 a.m.; exercise at 9:30 a.m.; bingo on Friday with 3 quarters, 2 dimes and 1 nickel; high school servers whose whole life is ahead of them trying to remember who had the soup or salad. 

A very structured, repetitive environment is the foundation of a senior living community play book. However, there is no playbook for COVID-19. 

Many people who have provided services to older adults for many years are putting their heads together to make safety a priority. I’m proud to know many of them, and I’ve seen an unequivocal exchange of proprietary materials for the sake of many.

Our older adults have a lifetime of making every single day a gift. Their shared stories and appreciation challenges very committed employees to execute a plan that will see us through 2020. We take one day at a time. Someday we will look back and tell the story of COVID-19 and how it changed our world in 2020.