Making a senior housing transition during COVID-19

How the Good Samaritan Society makes moving safe and healthy for everyone

Alice Poulos stands between two grown grandchildren outside

Moving during a pandemic may not be ideal, but Sanford Health and the Good Samaritan Society are ready and willing to help you or your loved one with the care and services you need.

With protocols in place, move-ins are allowed at most locations. One key component is that the person moving in has to test negative for COVID-19.

At Good Samaritan Society – Water Valley Senior Living Resort in Windsor, Colorado, a handful of people, including Alice Poulos, have moved in during the quarantine. More residents are scheduled to move in over the next month or two, and they’ve made the decision to move in after doing a virtual tour.

“We’ve been doing tours with FaceTime or Zoom using their phone or a tablet,” said John McElderry, executive manager at Water Valley.

Poulos, 89, had been a senior housing resident at Water Valley before experiencing a series of health events that landed her in the hospital and then rehab.

After Poulos moved back to her apartment, her daughter, Teri Romshek, knew she wouldn’t be able to continue living there without assistance. She met with McElderry and his staff to talk about next steps.

The following two weeks involved a lot of planning and patience.

Testing new residents

McElderry says if someone is moving from their home or a facility where there are no cases of COVID-19, then they are only required to have one negative test. But, if residents are coming from a facility that has active cases of COVID-19, then they are required to have two negative tests and do a seven-day quarantine in their apartment.

“We just want to be really careful and cautious and make sure we keep everyone safe,” said McElderry.

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Poulos was required to have only one negative COVID-19 test before moving to assisted living, but testing kits were in short supply.

“It was one hurdle after another that we had to work through,” said Romshek.

Once a test was available, McElderry and another staff member drove to pick it up and brought it to Poulos’ apartment so she could be tested.

Romshek says throughout the process they reassured her and helped answer any questions she had.

“I cannot sing their praises enough. They were just beyond helpful, patient, understanding and thorough,” she said.

Moving in safely

During the two weeks prior to Poulos’ move, Romshek was able to sort through her mom’s belongings and box things up.

Poulos moved to her new apartment on May 5 with the help of a moving company that Water Valley has used exclusively during the pandemic.

“They wheeled her down the hall and I’ve known from that point on she’s been in such good hands,” said Romshek. “The staff is just taking such good care of her.”

The moving company is a local, family-run business that Water Valley has used for many years. They trained on all the precautions and follow the Society’s recommendations for masking and screening.

Water Valley allows two people at a time to move things into an apartment. This could be one mover and one family member or two movers. This guideline allows for a family member to help set up their loved one’s apartment.

Even though the process looked different, Romshek is thankful that everyone was willing to help her mom through the transition while staying as safe as possible.

“We all learned together and kind of worked through the ins and outs of it as a team,” Romshek said.

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Posted In Coronavirus, Senior Services

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