Wit and Wisdom Blog for Atria Senior Living

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a new view on growing older

What older adults can do to avoid vaccine scams


Posted on January 15, 2021 by Ajla Bedzetovic


The big news making international headlines is the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. As of January, about 11.9 million Americans have been vaccinated against the virus. While we can all be thankful for the speediness with which vaccinations have been developed and administered, the CDC, FBI and Department of Justice have sounded alarms about a concerning development: scammers using the rollout of vaccines to target and take advantage of seniors.  

These vaccine scams are so new that cases are just beginning to emerge. Ben Taylor, the Legal Aid Society's Elder Justice fellow, shared a few tips to follow to avoid vaccine scams.

Be wary of unsolicited messages 

The first two things to know about scammers are that they exploit people’s fears and revert to the same tactics over and over again. COVID-19-related scams involving fake PPE, cures and instant tests surfaced at the onset of the pandemic, and the same methods are repeating now with robocallsphishing emails, text and social media messages, and door-to-door solicitation.  

Here’s our advice, in shortNever interact with any unexpected messages from individuals or companies, even if they're known to you. If you receive an unexpected text message from someone claiming to be your healthcare provider, you can always call your provider directly to confirm its authenticity. Don’t click on any links in text messages or emails that seem abrupt or strange. And be skeptical of anything vaccine-related that asks for payment – the government is funding the vaccinations. Even if you have to pay for a shot to be administered to you, insurance will cover the charge. 

Don’t trust anyone who acts fast 

Another thing to know about scammers: They act fast and want to whip you into a state of panic so you act rashly. One strategy they employ is saying you’ll “lose your place in line” unless you pay for your vaccination right now. But no legitimate distributor is going to say you have to act immediately “or else. Older adults will be among the first across the U.S. and Canada to receive immunizations, but the process of immunizing the entire population will take months. 

Only share your information with trusted personnel 

One reason these scams may prove effective is because the vaccine rollout is such a massive undertaking, and distribution guidelines aren’t clear yet. Generally, the way the process works is the government provides dosages to states, and then state governors decide who receives the vaccines (while following CDC recommendations). While rollout and distribution details are being sorted, check in with your healthcare provider or local health department for further details.  

Finally, this above all else: Only trust your primary health provider with your medical and financial information. They are the only ones who will be able to tell you when and where you can be vaccinated. 

 

Atria Senior Living is the sponsor of the Legal Aid Society's Elder Justice program. Learn more about how to avoid vaccine scams at YourLegalAid.org/COVID19ResponseAndResources.

 


Category: Community, COVID-19, Wit & Wisdom

Reflecting on 2020 and COVID-19


Posted on December 31, 2020 by Jesse Hazel


More than 4 million masks, 202,000 COVID-19 tests, 715,000 resident engagement programs, and 400 vaccinations. 2020 may have been rife with challenges, butthanks to the work and resilience ofAtria’sdedicated staff, residents and families, 2020 has also had its triumphs. As the year comes toa close, Atria is reflectingon the accomplishments achieved over the last year.

Fromthe inventive and delightful programs that keep residents engaged tothe COVID-19 testing strategies that keep residents and staff protected, #TeamAtria is grateful for a year that reinforcedwhat it means to be a team, community and family – no matter the circumstance.

Staying agile

Through hurricanes, wildfires, flu seasons and now a pandemic, agility and preparednesshave been key in helping Atria createenvironments that are as safe as possible for older adults.

In the earliest days of the pandemic, this meant dedicating manpower and resources to procuring and distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) to Atriacommunities and even families of residents and employees.

In March, as Atria manned and inventoried a PPE warehouse,a partnership with Mayo Clinic Laboratories began. The collaboration has served as the cornerstone for Atria’s testing strategies and has been instrumental in keeping residents and staff safe. Air freighters, jets and turboprops were utilized to ensure supplies arrived the minute they were needed inearly affected areas.

Astesting kits werebeing deployed to Atria communities, an internal team began tracking the spread of the virus behind the scenes.

From business analytics toviruspenetration analysis

Under the leadership of Atria’s Chairman and CEO, John Moore, a team began meeting nightly to track the virus’ penetration in Atria communities and across North America.

“Our charge in those meetings was to use our own data to see what the disease dynamics were in Atria communities, and then compare that to the disease dynamics within the cities where communities are located,” saidKyle Whittinghill, Director of Corporate Finance and Analytics at Atria. “This allowed us tounderstand what the risk levels were andhow to manage and mitigate those risks.”

That data has impacted every level ofthe business, allowing community and corporate leaders toswiftly escalate or deescalate safety protocolsand procedures accordingly.

“Wewere able toimplementscreening questions, PPE and infection controlmeasureswellahead oflocal mandates,” said Abby Figueroa, Senior Vice President of Functional Operations at Atria.

Keeping residents engaged during the pandemic

Like everyone else, Atria residents and their families became familiar with video conferencing, group chats andlivestreams. Accordingly, Atria’s Engage Life® team (those responsible for creating and arranging events and programs in communities)set out to keep residents engaged with their families and each other throughout the pandemic.

“From the very beginning, we wanted to make every interaction count. Whether it be through video calls or going door to door, we did whatever it took to give our residents the same excellent experience, as close as we could get it to what it used to be,” said Kristin Brown, Assistant Executive Director at Atria at Villages of Windsor in Florida.

As the virus persisted and cases rose, Atria communities enforced protocols that kept people together.

“What we feel the most is safe,” said Louise, a resident at Atria Darien in Connecticut. "And even though our protocols are strict, I’ve noticed people who were not exercising begin to exercise, and that’s rewarding."

Although keeping residents active through COVID-19 fluctuated between socially distanced activities and in-apartment programs, communitiescontinued to look for new ways to keep residentsengaged.

“Interestingly enough, the pandemic reminded us that human interaction is the element we all hold so close and prioritize. We just had to look at it differently,” Figueroa said. “We had to use different resources – obviously, technology, but it was also going back to basics.”

#SleeveUpAtria

As Atria begins hosting more and more vaccine clinics for residents and staff, all safety protocols currently in place will continue to be observed until everyone has received the required vaccine doses.

In the meantime, Atria communities will continue prioritizing resident well-being by offering opportunities for physical activity and connection within and outside of communities.

#TeamAtria wishes you a safe, healthy and happy New Year.

 

This blog represents the most current information available. We strive to present the best information available at any given moment, but please understand that this situation is fluid and evolving.


Category: Active Aging, Community, COVID-19, Our Team, Wit & Wisdom

Atria “sleeves up” for the first COVID-19 vaccines


Posted on December 21, 2020 by Jesse Hazel


Hugging grandchildren. Bunco parties. Laughing with good friends. These are just a few of the heartfelt reasons Atria residents gave for “sleeving up” today as they were among the first in the country to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The first round of vaccines was administered today at Atria Springdale and will continue at Atria St. Matthews, Atria Stony Brook, Atria Elizabethtown and Atria Highland Crossing through the end of the month of December.

This is a critical early milestone in the “Sleeve Up Atria” campaign to vaccinate more than 20,000 residents and almost 12,000 employees across 26 U.S. states and seven Canadian provinces, as soon as vaccines are made available to their communities.

Atria Senior Living CEO John A. Moore also rolled up his sleeve for the vaccine today. “I knew some people felt a little nervous about getting vaccinated, so I wanted to lead the way by setting a good example,” said Moore. “We’ve been waiting for this day ever since the promise of a vaccine became a reality. I’m so proud of our residents and employees across the U.S. and Canada who have done so much during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect our communities and each other.”

When asked if she was excited to get her vaccine today, Atria resident Engolfia “Georgia” Christoff enthusiastically replied, “You better believe it! I missed Thanksgiving with my family this year and they are just up the street. I’m looking forward to three weeks from now when I get to be with them again.”

While residents are understandably eager to resume activities that they enjoyed before COVID-19 hit, Atria will continue to follow safety protocols and conduct ongoing testing with support from Mayo Clinic Laboratories as we continue to administer the vaccine.

“Atria’s stringent protocols and testing have served us well,” said Moore, “but it’s the vaccine that we hope will be the knockout punch we need to give this disease. We can’t wait for the vaccine to come to every single one of our communities so that we can continue to do all we can to enable our residents to live their best lives, regardless of the circumstances.”

To see how Atria is creating the safest possible environment for residents and staff, visit AtriaSafeTogether.com.

 

This blog represents the most current information available. We strive to present the best information available at any given moment, but please understand that this situation is fluid and evolving.


Category: Caregiver Support, Community, COVID-19, Our Team

Atria residents a top priority for COVID-19 vaccine


Posted on December 4, 2020 by Jesse Hazel


Since the onset of the pandemic, Atria communities have been following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and diligently taking precautions to make resident safety a priority – something that Atria has always done, no matter the circumstance. We quickly galvanized resources and enacted plans to keep residents safe and engaged during quarantine. This began with a nationwide testing program and a collaboration with Mayo Clinic Laboratories as the cornerstone to our COVID-19 safety strategy. Atria’s dedication to protecting residents’ well-being continues with its enrollment in the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

Additional partnerships have also been developed to ensure all residents and staff will receive the vaccination as quickly and safely as possible. This is a crucial development as we look toward a safe and effective vaccine that allows residents and staff to get back to “normal” in 2021.

 Atria residents and staff among the first to be vaccinated

In addition to the nation’s healthcare workers, advisors to the CDC recommended that residents and employees of long-term care facilities (which includes assisted living) be the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC’s vaccine schedule will be determined as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) works through Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and states finalize their individual distribution plans. Bear in mind that each state controls their own vaccine deployment plan and plans vary from state to state.

Every Atria community in the United States is enrolled in the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program, making us part of the first phase of priority access in the nation. We are optimistic that residents and staff could start receiving vaccinations as soon as late December.

A partnership that makes it quick and easy

Thanks to Atria’s partnership with CVS Health, residents and staff will be able to receive the first dose of the vaccine in their own communities. Once the COVID-19 vaccine is available, plans are already in place to ensure it is distributed to Atria communities as safely and quickly as possible. The vaccine will be administered by CVS in a way similar to the flu shot clinics conducted in our communities earlier in the fall.

Keeping our guard up

While Atria is ready for a successful roll out of the vaccine, all safety protocols will continue to be observed until all residents and staff have received the required vaccine doses. Until that time, Atria will continue to optimize the quality of life for residents by providing delicious meals and opportunities for exercise and daily engagement – with well-being and safety always top of mind.

To see how Atria is creating the safest possible environment for residents and staff, visit AtriaSafeTogether.com.

 

This blog represents the most current information available. We strive to present the best information available at any given moment, but please understand that this situation is fluid and evolving.


Category: COVID-19, Wit & Wisdom

8-28 Blog

Staying safely connected in a world with COVID-19


Posted on August 28, 2020 by Jesse Hazel


COVID-19 has forced all of us to rethink how we interact with the world and each other. Still, staying connected remains vital to our well-being.

At Atria Senior Living, we believe people belong together. By making adjustments to Atria’s Engage Life® events program, team members continue to offer residents creative new ways to learn, engage and connect, safely.

Connecting across generations

Through a phone-based “reflecting and sharing” program, residents are sharing their unique wisdom with younger generations. Each week, they reflect on a current topic affecting society then share their collective insights over the phone.

In one recent example, residents who worked as teachers offered advice to parents teaching their children at home and professional teachers instructing students online during the pandemic. Soon, residents will reflect on the importance of voting and why younger generations should be encouraged to exercise their right in the upcoming elections.

A second wisdom-sharing program coming soon is a phone pal partnership with the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), where high-achieving students will be matched with older adults who have professional experience in their fields of interest.

These partnerships present valuable opportunities for diverse generations to connect from a distance over similar interests and benefit from each other’s perspectives.

Innovating to engage

At the onset of the pandemic, Atria communities were equipped with conferencing phone lines. The ability to dial in from the safety of their apartments has enabled residents to join neighbors for group sing-alongs, book clubs, art appreciation programs, word games, lectures and Broadway performances, to name a few. Many communities provide handouts to serve as visual aids.

Since residents aren’t gathering for group classes and events, Atria is bringing those experiences to them. Doorway and mobile cart events have inspired endless creativity. Staff have organized guided “paint and sip” workshops, container gardening and travel adventures via video, food samples and music. The popular Positivi-Tea program encourages residents to explore topics in the field of positive psychology while they sip a nice cup of tea.

Staying strong

With many gyms closed and exercise classes canceled, it’s no secret staying fit has been a challenge for many of us.

While Atria staff offer regular hallway workouts and outdoor walks at communities where local and state regulations permit, many will soon launch a new fitness challenge to further motivate residents. Small clusters of communities will compete against other groups to achieve their exercise goals and earn rewards and recognition.

“Exercise has been the most important, and probably the hardest, program to develop overall,” said Atria’s Vice President of Resident Engagement, Christy Phillips. “We’ve gotten really creative with helping residents maintain their physical strength.”

Celebrating resilience

Speaking of strength, Atria residents have persevered through world wars, economic depressions and personal challenges. They have so much to teach others and their resilience is a tool Catherine Schneider, Atria’s Director of Resident Well-Being Curriculum, hopes residents are willing to share.

“We’ve developed a program to collect the wisdom behind the ways residents have learned to cope during difficult times,” said Schneider. “After all, we’re going through this together. It’s an opportunity to share stories and learn from each other.”

 

To learn more about how Atria Senior Living is helping residents and families stay connected, visit AtriaSafeTogether.com.


Category: Active Aging, Community, COVID-19, Seniors and Technology, Wit & Wisdom

Connecting Safely through Culinary Experiences


Posted on August 7, 2020 by Jesse Hazel


As we have been carefully reopening our senior living communities over the past few months, Atria’s Culinary and Engage Life events teams have delivered thoughtful, hospitality-driven experiences for residents, adapted to the times in which we’re all living.

 Safety first, then fun

Chad Welch, Atria’s Executive Chef of Culinary Operations, used to recommend ways for community culinary staff to display a buffet, cheese board or fruit platter for residents to enjoy together as a group. These days, however, he provides recommendations for rethinking some of the basic concepts of resident dining options.

“We’ve been really creative with how we’re delivering food,” he said. One of the ways Atria has offered a safe and enjoyable experience is by visiting residents door to door with themed, decorated culinary carts with individual portions for safety. A farmer’s market cart, complete with terracotta planters filled with hummus, might arrive at their doorstep one day. Another day, they might be treated to a summer barbecue-themed spread of smoked ribs and slaw. Staff have even delivered pizza in boxes personalized with good-natured jokes like “You’re so cheesy!” and other special hellos.

During these cautionary times, staff also take residents’ temperatures, wheel hydration carts door to door, and bring residents mobile happy hours like Margarita Monday or Wimbledon Wednesday with cocktails and strawberries.

“We have carts for just about everything – one of my favorites is a ‘Positivi-Tea’ cart that shares tea and uplifting thoughts on meditation and wellness with our residents,” said Shannon Wilson, Atria’s Manager of Engage Life Operations. “They’re a way to make mealtime more of an event, a surprise to look forward to.”

People belong together

One of Atria’s core values is that people belong together – and food can help cultivate that sense of belonging.

The challenge these days is to help residents feel connected at a time when they must socially distance and can’t go out and enjoy their favorite local places. That’s why we vary community menus regionally and seasonally. We may serve stuffed quahogs in Falmouth, Massachusetts, at the same time we’re serving Crab Louie in San Mateo, California, or green chili in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“Having your meals delivered to you, while a bit of a luxury, can be monotonous at times, so this is a way to offer programs to residents throughout the day that makes the delivery a community-wide event,” Wilson said. “We value our residents so much and we want them to stay engaged and connected through their culinary experiences.”

 

To learn more about how Atria Senior Living is helping residents and families stay connected, visit AtriaSafeTogether.com.

 


Category: Community, COVID-19, The Atria Kitchen, Wit & Wisdom

Atria families are finding reassurance in an uncertain world


Posted on July 24, 2020 by Jesse Hazel


During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all had to rethink the way we live, work and keep our families safe.

At Atria Senior Living, we are committed to protecting residents’ health and safety while maintaining the connection and engagement so vital to their well-being. Our 14,000-plus employees are extensively trained on how to respond in any circumstance, whether it’s a hurricane, flood, wildfire or a pandemic.

Through every challenge over the years, we’ve emerged smarter and better situated to continue serving residents safely while offering them meaningful opportunities to lead vibrant, connected lives.

We continue to be grateful for the families who have put their trust in us. Here’s what a few of them had to say.

___________________________________

 

Atria Daly City

Daly City, California

 

“I was recommended two years ago by a friend to bring my brother to Atria Daly City. This was the best decision I made on his behalf for myself and my family. What a beautiful community. The Executive Director, Cecilia, and Chef Walter really form a dynamic duo along with their ever-caring staff who are  tender, polite and very alert.

The real proof came when COVID-19 hit California and subsequently all care facilities. What a crew! All of them, with no one exempted, went above and beyond their abilities to help the vulnerable residents during this difficult time.

All of them, with no one exempted, went above and beyond their abilities to help the vulnerable residents during this difficult time.

Their dedicated service continues today and will for years to come. I was amazed to learn the number of hours each and every one of them worked at the community, sacrificing their personal lives, their families, their own time. Also, before the pandemic hit, the community was thriving socially with all the activities and field trips that made them feel good and like members of a big family.

I recommend Atria to anyone who wants their older loved ones to live in a safe, caring and loving environment. The economics of it are also great. The price is right, as they say, and Chef Walter will never disappoint you! You will be in a very good place!”

–Philip

___________________________________

 

Atria Briarcliff Manor                                                                  

Briarcliff Manor, New York

 

"Atria Briarcliff Manor is exactly the community where I would want my parent(s) to live, especially during this challenging time. The sincerity, camaraderie and professionalism of the entire staff, the warmth and cleanliness of the campus and residence is incredible and outstanding! The measures taken to ensure all of the residents and staff are safe and well cared for is impressive and reassuring. Anyone who visits or has a loved one residing at Atria Briarcliff Manor can attest to the warmth and family the staff has created in this wonderful senior living community. Hats off to the Atria Briarcliff Manor team for its tireless efforts to generate creative programs and ways to keep the community members feeling connected to their loved ones and each other while respecting and abiding by social distancing protocols. #awesome!!! Well done Atria!”

–Deborah

___________________________________

 

Atria Willow Park

Tyler, Texas

 

"I have been a resident of Atria for 12 years in May. When people ask me how I like it, I tell them it’s the best place to be.

The personnel since I have been here have been superb. But what I want to talk about is the way they have been in this present crisis. They are the best. There are just no adequate adjectives to tell you how excellently they have managed their sharing of duties during this time and are always pleasant. They have all pitched in and are always accommodating and kind and pleasant.   

There are just no adequate adjectives to tell you how excellently they have managed their sharing of duties during this time and are always pleasant.

I want to apologize for my writing. I’m 98 years old, and I think I’m doing pretty good to be able to write at all even if it does slant up the page. That shouldn’t detract from my message. Atria personnel are special. They are just extra special. Thank you for providing the type of management that encourages this type of service and employees.”

Sincerely,

Mary 

___________________________________

 

Atria Tarzana

Tarzana, California

 

“Finding an assisted living community for a parent can be such a challenging and difficult decision, especially these days. Today, I was able to take a virtual tour of Atria Tarzana with Rafi and I was just blown away. He was not only informative, but his personal attention made my mom and me feel very comfortable.

He was not only informative, but his personal attention made my mom and me feel very comfortable.

Staff members also joined the tour to say hello. We felt extremely welcomed. All of our main concerns were answered in detail, from safety and health matters to everyday living. Thank you, Rafi! My mother is definitely looking forward to making Atria her new home.”

–Maggie

___________________________________

 

Atria Crossroads Place

Waterford, Connecticut

 

“My father has been at Atria Crossroads Place for a little over two years now. We have been very happy with the service and accommodations. The building is very clean, the food is very good, and the staff is very kind and helpful. In the past few months amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Atria Crossroads Place has been outstanding in their approach to keeping residents safe and healthy. I highly recommend Atria. You will be hard-pressed to find a finer community in the state.”

–D.S.

___________________________________

 

To learn more about how Atria Senior Living is helping residents and their families stay connected, visit AtriaSafeTogether.com.


Category: Community, COVID-19, Wit & Wisdom

As the world is reopening, so are we – carefully


Posted on July 13, 2020 by Jesse Hazel


At Atria Senior Living, our number one priority is the health and well-being of residents and staff. That’s why we’ve worked hard to devise a comprehensive, data-based plan to reopen communities, and bring people together again, safely.

Laying the foundation

In late April – with full quarantine in effect – we began the critical first step of testing to identify asymptomatic cases and reduce the risk of infection for residents and staff. While testing remained scarce in many parts of the country, Atria had already built a relationship with Mayo Clinic Laboratories to test 13,000 staff and third-party vendors.

By the end of June – through Atria’s own testing, government-mandated testing and one-off physician-driven testing – we had completed nearly 40,000 tests for residents and staff at more than 200 communities with differing infection rates and local regulations.

This combination of quarantine, testing, digital contact tracing and continued safety protocols, such as PPE usage, temperature checks and symptom screenings, helped build a solid foundation for reopening.

 

 

Opening the door

As a large organization operating across North America, with varying state and local guidelines, easing quarantine could only happen gradually.

In early June, we designated pilot communities that would experience the first steps. The list included all locations without on-site exposure in 28 days, including more than 100 communities with no exposure before that date.

While in-apartment dining remained in place, pilot communities began offering social-distanced dining and family drive-up visits. Wearing masks, residents in many communities could also leave their apartments and, in some cases, gather in groups of five or fewer.

By July 2, virtually all communities had eased full quarantine and entered what we call our COVID-19 Watch phase.

 

 

Looking ahead

Today, Atria communities are operating as normally as possible in a world still at risk of COVID-19. Residents are enjoying more opportunities to connect with neighbors outside of their apartments, and many are delighted to welcome family inside their apartments – wearing masks and gloves, and practicing hand hygiene in all cases.

We all want community life to resume. By continuing to test, contact trace and follow proper safety protocols, we’re committed to combating COVID-19 while maintaining the connection and engagement that is so vital to our well-being.

 

To learn more about how Atria Senior Living is helping residents and their families stay connected, visit AtriaSafeTogether.com.

 


Category: COVID-19

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