It goes without saying that the COVID-19 Pandemic has represented a major interruption in the lives of individuals and families throughout our community. This has been particularly true for at-risk residents – particularly older adults living in assisted living and other senior community settings.
“Connections are critical to the human experience and they can be a source of energy, purpose and optimism.” said Associate Director of Senior Housing, Toni Clemons-Porter. “When connectivity opportunities are diminished – even if it’s in the best interest of the group such as in preserving public health – we have all seen the difficult strain it can have on our lives, and especially the lives of the older adults in our community who are at greater risk of infection.”
For the residents of the Lincolnia Assisted Living Community, COVID-19 posed a unique challenge during a period of quarantine that left many residents wondering how they would stay connected. The 52-bed licensed assisted living facility is owned by the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority. The facility is home to lower-income residents, many of whom do not own their own television or have a computer in their unit. As safety measures (outlined by local, state and federal health officials) were put into action to prevent the spread of illness – including closing common areas, prohibiting group gatherings and visitation, self-quarantine and others – opportunities to remain connected to individuals, entertainment and activities became increasingly limited and the threat of isolation increased.
Enter Let’s Connect, LLC, a local organization that provides a chat service to connect with older adults, provide safety checks or refer them to other services. The organization partnered with a local volunteer group, Millennial 50+ Ambassadors of Northern Virginia, to raise funds to purchase TVs for each resident. Currently, they raised enough funds to purchase 30 smart TVs which were then donated to the Lincolnia community and are working toward the purchase of additional TVs to ensure all resident beds have one for their use. In addition, the group arranged for several care packages to be delivered with a variety of comforting gifts, including teddy bears, candy, and thoughtful greeting cards.
“This generous donation was very warmly received by our residents,” said Clemons-Porter. “The TVs opened so many new avenues for forming connections, finding entertainment and engaging in various activities. We are very grateful to our community partners for making this possible.”
Coordinated Services Management, the third-party management company who operates the Lincolnian Senior Residences and Assisted Living, is now also looking to the future with Let’s Connect, LLC, for potentially coordinating live performances with social distancing and other engaging activities for the residents.