senior & robot 1.jpg

Residents at Haven Homes in Maple Plain use their robot to visit their families virtually while visitors are unable to visit in-person. (Submitted photo)

While the world is in the midst of quarantine, daily life is shaken up and people are relying on the internet to communicate with others, senior living facilities have closed their doors to visitors but are maintaining communication with residents’ families and throughout the facility.

Harrison Bay Senior Living, Haven Homes and Lake Minnetonka Shores are senior assisted-living facilities that are taking precautions to prevent future exposure to the coronavirus. Currently no visitors are allowed at any location, staff members are screened before entering and residents are being monitored daily. Each senior living home is offering more ways for residents to stay connected to their loved ones and the outside.

Haven Homes in Maple Plain describes itself as “a vibrant senior adult community” and they’re living up to that description by providing a robot for residents to communicate face-to-face without being face-to-face. The robot consists of a portable stand with a tablet attached so residents can chat with their families without having to worry about holding a tablet or phone.

“During normal times, it can be used as a communication device for families that are unable to come in or live far away. We are also setting up volunteers to be able to use the robot for virtual volunteering,” Haven Homes campus administrator Katie Novotny said.

Other technology that residents are using include iPads and iPhones. Families will contact Haven Homes’ Therapeutic Recreation Department, Social worker and ResoLute Quality of Living Specialist to set up times and have staff assist with the process if needed. Virtual tele-health visits are also being provided for their care providers and residents.

While communicating via FaceTime and Skype are alternatives to check in with families, it is an adjustment from having in-person visitors daily.

“There are some residents that had daily visits, and some weekly. Family, friends, volunteers and providers are used to being here daily, weekly and monthly. Those individuals and our residents are experiencing the results of COVID-19,” Novotny said.

To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Haven Homes has discontinued group activities and communal dining. Before entry to the building, staff have their temperature taken and symptoms are reported immediately. Residents are monitored daily for any respiratory symptoms as well as fever.

Even the post office is helping out with the precautions.

“We worked with the Maple Plain Post Office on a new, safe way to deliver mail without entering the building. We have discontinued all non-essential outside personnel entry to the building,” she added.

Lake Minnetonka Shores in Spring Park is following the guidelines for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to restrict all visitors, volunteers and vendors to only essential visits, which may include end-of-life or required care. All visitors will be screened upon entering the building. Phones were also distributed between Presbyterian Homes and Services communities, including Lake Minnetonka Shores.

Other ways Lake Minnetonka Shores suggests staying connected include becoming a pen pal, either via mail or email, sending small crafts or art work and phone call visits.

Harrison Bay Senior Living in Mound is also not allowing visitors, and they are not taking residents outside of their community. They will reevaluate in the middle of April. Residents are continuing to participate in activities such as painting and other crafts as well as posting updates online for all to see.

“I think this has affected everyone in some way,” Novotny said. “We are a great team here at Haven Homes and this has brought out the best in our staff. We are working together and efficiently towards the same goal to keep our residents safe.”

Load comments