Wit and Wisdom Blog for Atria Senior Living

      Wit and Wisdom      

a new view on growing older

Connecting Safely through Culinary Experiences


Posted on August 7, 2020 by Mari Evans


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 Mari Evans


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.

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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

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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

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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 

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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

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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.

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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 Mari Evans


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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