Senior Living during Covid-19 2020/2021
When Covid-19 hit the area, Briarwood Continuing Care Community in North Worcester faced its danger. The Covid-19 vaccine was made available to senior facilities early in the quarantine and over 95% of the Briarwood population was vaccinated. The community was placed under various stages of quarantine and wearing masks became mandatory.
Briarwood closed all public places requiring residents to stay in place. Only caregivers and staff were allowed entrance. Meals were delivered to residents’ doors by mask and shield covered staff. With the Wellness center closed, exercise was reduced to walking corridors and the paths around the village. Briarwood’s TV station broadcasted information, movies, and local programs. Residents who were familiar with face-to-face internet opportunities were able to communicate with family and friends. Meetings via Zoom were organized.
The Briarwood population has lived through several wars, violent weather, polio, quarantines for contagious diseases, and more. The belt tightening that was required simply meant finding another way for daily living.
After months of isolation, residents began gathering outdoors and some gathered inside for small group visiting and game playing. Families were allowed visitation except in Assisted Living, Evergreen Memory Care and Knollwood Nursing Home. The dining room remained closed but eventually the café opened its doors to a resounding welcome.
When the quarantine relaxed and masks were no longer mandated, one felt that an article of clothing was missing. The adjustment to new freedom was cautious but soon the socializing was back in place. The new normal was starting and although different, it was a joy to be able to see friends. Yes, all had aged another precious year, but Briarwood could boast few Covid-19 cases and even fewer Covid-19 deaths.