The COVID-19 pandemic has placed enormous pressure and a variety of challenges on senior living communities, staff members and residents. During the past few months, the priority at Daystar Retirement Community has been protecting the safety and wellness of everyone on campus in accordance with our mission and values.
(Pictured) Executive Director Robyn Huetter (above) and Daystar employees (below) reveal their true identities on Employee Super Hero Day.
No one could have anticipated a public health crisis, but when we realized the oncoming threat of the novel coronavirus, our team at Daystar immediately implemented steps to deal with the evolving situation and protect everyone living, working, and coming into contact with our buildings. Some of the steps and preventative measures we took included:
- Shutting down the communal dining rooms
- Instituting a no-visitor policy to limit the people coming on and off campus
- Canceling all group activities, classes, and events
- Administering a daily screening for each employee to check for symptoms
- Requiring staff to make Daystar their only place of employment to minimize exposure from other facilities and worksites
- Increasing our cleaning and sanitation of all touched surfaces throughout the building
In addition, we also monitor the temperature and oxygen saturation of every resident on a daily basis and our team members wear personal protective gear while they are in the community. We are proud to report that as a result of these collective measures, and the overall diligence and care of our staff, there have been no COVID cases in our senior living community. Although rigorously upholding our virus protocols has led to a striking change in our everyday routine, our hard work has so far paid off.
Engaging and Entertaining Residents During COVID-19
Although we’ve temporarily put a hold on many of the social programs and activities that make life at Daystar so rewarding, we have found alternative ways to enrich the lives of our residents and keep them engaged over the past several months while still taking precautionary measures for health and safety.
On Mother’s Day, each female resident received a fresh bouquet of flowers to make them feel special. For Cinco de Mayo’s Taco Bout a Fiesta, a few staff members went room to room serving “mockeritas” and chips with guacamole. Other festivities on campus have included a Drive-Through Parade, during which other West Seattle residents passed through the campus in their vehicles, bringing smiles, waves, and even puppy sightings to our residents. When one of our residents celebrated her 96th birthday, she still received a special dinner of her choice, as is our community tradition.
Additionally, we understand the difficulty of not being able to have friends and family visit, so the staff has taken it upon themselves to help residents set up virtual get-togethers with their loved ones. We even have laptops and iPads available for them to use. As the weather in West Seattle turns warmer during the summer months, we’re also permitting outside visits, as long as social distancing requirements are adhered to.
Even without visits from loved ones and the normal interactions among one another, our residents are not completely isolated. They interact with multiple staff members each day, including our dining staff, care staff, and activity staff. Our activity directors have developed crafts and games residents can do in the comfort of their own rooms. Our in-home dining program has also garnered support, and we try to ensure a varied, delicious, and nutritious menu as part of our way of caring for our seniors.
(Pictured) Meticulously decorated cars drove through to bring smiles to residents during our Car Parade.
A Supportive Staff at Daystar
Our zero-cases statistic wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of the entire Daystar staff, the backbone of our operations. For our entire team, working with seniors is not just a job—it’s a calling. The staff members we hire not only possess a specific skill set, but also a heart to serve our residents and a passion to maintain their health and well-being.
They have taken a trying situation and not only done what they needed in terms of amplifying precautionary safety and health protocol and procedures, but they’ve also managed to maintain fun and festivity on campus. Their commitment to our senior residents never wavers.
(Pictured) Daystar employees practice social distancing and wear masks to protect residents.
While they are busy giving their best efforts daily, we’ve also done what we can to ensure they have the support and tools they need to carry out their jobs and protect their own physical and mental health during this unprecedented time. They come to work everyday with many of the same health and safety concerns as our residents. To keep morale high, we host special theme days and regular staff meetings via Zoom to bolster efficient communication. Our team also regularly receives thank-you treats and letters and phone calls from family members and residents expressing gratitude as they feel safe and comfortable living in our retirement community.
The past few months have presented an array of unexpected challenges, and we know the situation has not yet passed. We continue to be dedicated to the well-being of our residents and employees, and we will do what we must to give them peace of mind living and working at Daystar. Meanwhile, our staff remains committed to seeking out ways to enrich the lives of our residents and keep them active and engaged in the coming months.
Executive Vice President