Schekesia: Helping seniors maintain mental well-being during the pandemic.

June 07, 2021
How communication, collaboration and creativity kicked the COVID-19 blues.
By Lori Bender - American House

The pandemic has had an immense impact on senior living communities across the country, including our residents who call American House home. Wide-ranging mental and emotional effects of the pandemic on seniors was a recent topic featured in the senior living publication, Argentum Quarterly. In the article, Schekesia Meadough, American House Vice President of Quality and Clinical Operations, revealed how American House proactively mobilized to keep our residents feeling safe, secure and connected, and helped ensure their ongoing well-being.

An American House COVID-19 taskforce, consisting of team members from every discipline in the community, was created to address the challenges of the pandemic head on. According to Schekesia, this taskforce utilized expert resources and technology to adopt policies and procedures to promote safety and provide peace of mind for our team members, residents and their families.

The article detailed some of the American House policies and procedures put in place during the pandemic, including:

  • Continuous training and daily, empowering communication with employees

  • Open communication with our residents and their loved ones regarding visitation protocols, dining, activities and more

  • Food pantries during lockdown

  • Life Enrichment programming to keep our residents’ spirits up, including creating videos and artwork

  • Resident pen pal program to connect with those in other communities

  • Intellectually stimulating games, yoga and bingo that allow for communication while maintaining social distance practices

  • The implementation of our PURE™ program, which focuses on creating a safer and cleaner experience for every individual in our communities

According to Schekesia, eliminating or reducing anxiety in our residents has always been an area of expertise for us, and during the pandemic we doubled down and got even more creative.

All residents had access to, and an understanding of, technology that enabled them to stay in touch with loved ones. In some cases, these tools helped families grow even closer than they were before the pandemic. “The positive impact on the mental well-being of our residents cannot be overstated,” says Schekesia.

She and her team relied on both in-person and telehealth mental wellness services to ensure our residents had expert resources for depression or anxiety. She says, “Keeping in close contact with family members also gave us insight into their loved one’s mental health, and we were able to be proactive in bringing in outside help to curtail the negative impact of isolation during quarantine.”

Through the pandemic, one thing was evident to Schekesia, “It takes a village to battle the unforeseen effects of this virus and emerge smarter and healthier on the other side—and a village is exactly what we have created.”

With our proven best practices, team collaboration and a willingness to innovate and learn along the way, this chapter is a great example of how our guiding principles of compassionate quality care continue to enrich the lives of the people we serve.

We all have a story. A story that taught us something, changed us and helped define who we are. At American House, your next chapter is waiting to be written. We’re here to help you write it. Your way.

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