At Charter House the health and safety of our residents comes first. Knowing that these are uncertain times, we have changed much of what we do on a daily basis, as many have, to be sure that our residents and staff remain healthy and safe. We create procedures and change them as needed based on the most up-to-date information from the CDC, CMS, MN Department of Health, and the procedures set forth by Mayo Clinic. This often means that we make daily changes in how we both live and work. The following is a list of what Charter House has done and is currently doing to ensure the best possible care to our community:
- We have instituted a daily health screening process for staff. Our staff monitor themselves at home and take their temperatures twice daily. Thermometers have been provided to staff. When we arrive at work, we stand in line, 6 feet apart, to be screened by nursing staff, answering questions about symptoms and receiving another temperature check. This information is recorded for tracking.
- All staff now wear face masks while working. We have been given specified training on fit and proper mask usage.
- No visitors are permitted in Charter House; special circumstances may be considered such as a resident in an active stage of passing away.
- Elevator usage has been limited to 2 passengers per trip.
- Our dining areas are closed to residents and we are delivering meals to their doors. Our residents are given the opportunity to order a light breakfast, a light lunch, or a hot lunch from our formal dining venue, and a hot dinner from our formal dining venue.
- Grocery delivery has been instituted from our in-house convenience store. Residents are given an order form with available items and their order is delivered to their doors.
- We have a newly formed Wellness Connection program that offers residents the chance to receive a phone call daily from staff to check on their well being, and to report any items or services they need.
- Our Charter House Chaplain, Reverend Rachel Hanson, is prerecording and streaming Sunday Vespers. Vespers services can be viewed on the new YouTube channel that Charter House has set up to show snippets of life inside Charter House.
- Our fitness instructors conduct exercises on the floors twice per week at a safe social distance with residents stepping just outside of their apartment doors.
- To limit outsiders in our building, all mail, package, and newspaper delivery has been taken on by Charter House staff. It is sorted and delivered directly to the residents in the mail holder outside their doors.
- Coffee remains an important part of our residents’ lives and we’re providing a “coffee trolley” that comes around twice per day with hot beverages and snacks. Residents are given a card to place outside their door indicating their choice to have a visit from the trolley or to have the trolley move on without stopping.
- A library cart is available to our residents to check out books and magazines and even request specific titles. We have hundreds of books to choose from and a significant selection of large print books as well.
- We have pulled together a DVD library at our Resident Service Center. Residents have a list of over 220 titles which they can request and have delivered to them.
- We are encouraging our residents to stay inside their apartments, connect virtually with friends and family, and stay at least 6 feet apart in any distantly social situation.
- Charter House has set up two important phone lines. The first gives daily recorded announcements for residents, family, and staff. The second is the Silver Line which any resident can call to be able to simply chat with another resident or volunteer should they want to reach out while isolating.
For the latest information, check back to our Charter House blog, find our Charter House page on Mayo Clinic Connect, or find us on Facebook by searching for Charter House – Mayo Clinic Retirement Living.
Don’t Wait Too Long
Many older adults wait too long to incorporate resources into their lives that will help them remain independent. Planning ahead is essential to considering the options available to you if your health or circumstances change. You will have more control when you make time to carefully explore your options and do your research. You will take a lot of pressure off your family if you plan ahead and seek out the resources you need to remain healthy, active, and safe.
Benefits of a Plan
Sarah J. Crane, M.D., Mayo Clinic Geriatrician and member of the Board of Directors at Charter House, describes the importance of planning ahead:
By acknowledging the need for additional support, you will likely be able to continue to live more independently for a longer period of time. If you wait until you are in a crisis, you may have less control and much more limited options. Pay attention to emerging resources that you can take advantage of to maintain your independence. New technologies such as smart phone apps are creating options to address the challenges ranging from medication management to transportation. Be open to incorporating these new resources into your life.
What You Can Do Now
- Develop a Plan. Find resources offering you flexibility as your needs change, don’t wait until you are in the middle of a crisis. For some, this may mean joining the waiting list for a senior community in anticipation of a future move. For others, this may mean establishing in-home care resources for assistance with daily needs.
- Document Your Wishes. Review Mayo Clinic Advance Health Care Planning and familiarize yourself with documents such as a POLST, advanced directive, and living will. You can consult with an attorney who is specialized in elder law. Provide your health care provider and health care agents (if applicable) with a copy of your finalized documents. Keep these documents accessible and updated.
- Connect with Resources. Contact 2-1-1; this three-digit number connects you to a free and confidential referral service through United Way to find community services, resources, and volunteer opportunities.
Click here for more information from Mayo Clinic on future health care planning!