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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to rethink the way we engage with the world and each other. At Atria, how we stay connected is different right now. But why we do it is more important than ever.
Atria’s Stay Safe, Stay Together program is a comprehensive set of practices and protocols designed to help communities continue offering residents the safest, most rewarding senior living experience, in any circumstance.
In 20+ years as a leader in senior living, Atria has faced hurricanes and wildfires, flooding and flu seasons – and has emerged smarter and better able to manage the next challenge each time.
From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Atria’s senior management team rushed to escalate safety protocols in communities and, in many cases, were ahead of state and provincial regulators. Since then, the team has learned a great deal about what’s most effective in limiting the spread of COVID-19.
Atria realized the importance of testing at the start of the pandemic and developed a partnership with Mayo Clinic Laboratories. Ongoing testing allows communities to identify cases earlier – both with and without symptoms – and isolate individuals more quickly, both of which are essential for reducing or eliminating disease threat.
With more than 150,000 tests completed as of November, communities continue running weekly clinics, which may include testing all new residents, new hires, home health and third-party providers, and residents returning from hospitals and rehab stays. Through digital contact tracing and spot quarantining, communities can quickly react to new cases and contain further spread.
Atria’s senior management team keeps careful watch on disease movements day and night to anticipate possible outbreaks. In fact, data strongly suggests early testing in April and again from June to September helped communities recover more quickly than the general public.
When PPE was scarce, even for hospitals, states and provinces, Atria senior management team scoured North America to secure millions of masks, gloves and gowns. Community staff, third-party providers, residents and family members have had a steady supply of PPE throughout the pandemic.
Atria formed a unique partnership with Cardinal Spirits to produce its own hand sanitizer, soap and wipes. The company also established a permanent warehouse and distribution process to store and transport PPE and cleaning and sanitizing supplies to 200+ communities, delivering initial shipments by chartered private jet so employees could avoid exposure at airports.
And, instead of relying on imported supplies, Atria teamed up with a manufacturer of culinary chef coats to make washable, sterilizable gowns to protect community staff.
Atria has learned a large percentage of positive COVID-19 cases came from resident interactions with outside healthcare systems. For the convenience of residents and their families, and for thoughtful pandemic protection, communities installed additional smart TVs, blood pressure monitors and pulse oximeters to help doctors “see” residents remotely.
Keeping residents safe and healthy is Atria’s top priority. Making sure they remain connected and meaningfully engaged is just as vital.
Through thoughtful, ongoing contact with support, innovative engagement programs, socially distanced dining and drive-up visits, residents enjoy more social connection at Atria than they would living at home, alone.
Employees of Atria’s trademark events program, Engage Life®, are prepared for emergencies of any kind. At the start of the pandemic, programs were quickly adapted to accommodate residents inside their apartments.
Through conference calls, online virtual meetings and distanced gatherings, residents are safely engaging in sing-alongs, book club discussions and foreign language classes. Knitters and quilters are contributing their talents to their local communities by creating and donating needed items. A few residents have even penned their memoirs during guided workshops.
Even during full quarantine, residents enjoyed unique experiences delivered to their apartments via themed carts. Events included Take Me Out to the Ball Game celebrations to kick off baseball season, distanced aromatherapy workshops and globe-trotting adventures to Egypt, Spain and Japan, complete with music and food samples from each country.
Atria has made it easier for guests to visit in person by designating outdoor gathering spaces and arranging drive-up visits. In some communities, family wearing appropriate PPE may visit inside their family member’s apartment, where state or local regulators permit. Every community has tablets with cellular service, mobile TV carts and conference lines for residents to connect with families and friends.
To keep families updated about the health and well-being of their older family members, Atria expedited the launch of the Atria Mobile app, adding COVID-19-related data such as daily temperature readings and symptom screenings. The app also provides daily event calendars, general community news and important contact information.
From hurricanes and wildfires to flooding and flu seasons, Atria is no stranger to crisis. Still, nothing could have prepared the company for COVID-19.
In early 2020, Atria’s senior management team kept a watchful eye on the spread of COVID-19 as it moved through China, Asia, Europe and the rest of the world. On February 27, with fewer than 100 cases reported in the entire U.S., Atria quickly developed and put into place stringent safety protocols at all communities.
By March 22, Atria had escalated protocols to full quarantine at all 200+ communities throughout North America, restricting resident travel and visitors, ending large gatherings, procuring and distributing PPE, and beginning temperature and O2 saturation screenings – all before state and provincial mandates.
By July, virtually all Atria communities were able to emerge from full quarantine. In October, most communities entered COVID Watch status which provides greater use of community amenities but with triggers in place to escalate protocols again if needed.
From March to October, Atria has spent approximately $42 million in supplies and expenses (including frontline support pay) to meet the challenges of COVID-19 across all 200+ communities in the United States and Canada.
Atria is a leading provider of senior living throughout North America. Preparedness and continuous improvement are at the core of Atria’s culture, and the company is proud of its ability to respond quickly to new challenges.
Today, Atria continues to adapt and apply the lessons of 2020 to create the best possible communities for residents now and into the future.
For more information or to request interviews, please contact Atria at MediaInquiries@AtriaSeniorLiving.com.
Privately held management company offering independent living, assisted living, supportive living and memory care communities.