Assisted care facilities take precautions during crisis

  • Photo courtesy Traces of Tiger. Ed and Diane Elliott sit outside and eat while spending time talking with each other at Traces of Tiger recently.
    Photo courtesy Traces of Tiger. Ed and Diane Elliott sit outside and eat while spending time talking with each other at Traces of Tiger recently.

TIGER— Assisted care facilities in Rabun County are being rigorous in their cleaning efforts and taking precautions to protect employees and residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

Just as CannonWood Village and Mountain View Health and Rehab have changed policies regarding visitation and group activities, Traces of Tiger Retirement assisted living facility in Tiger has also implemented changes to daily operations.  

“We’ve followed all state guidance with reports, sanitizing and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations,” said Carlie Pennington, administrator for the facility.

She said that they are required to submit a report to the state with an update on their facility each day.  

As a precaution, employees are required to wear a mask and gloves at all times and have to go through a screening process before starting their shift.

Pennington explained that before entering the building, employees have their temperatures checked. They then must wash up to their elbows with soap and hot water and use sanitizing spray.  

The facility itself is also cleaned constantly.

“Right now, everything is sanitized,” Pennington said.

She said that they currently do not have reported COVID-19 cases at the facility. Traces of Tiger has 24 residents who range from 74 to 97-years-old.

Pennington said that residents are having their doctor visits via “tele-communications.”

Virtual communication has also been utilized so families can video chat with residents since visitors are not allowed inside the building.

“That’s been our biggest communication so far,” Pennington said. She said that family members have also communicated with residents through their windows so they can visibly see each other.

Family members of residents have also sent crafts to give them activities to help keep them occupied.

“[We’re] doing whatever we can to try and combat some of the loneliness,” Pennington said. She said that they are doing activities almost every day.

“We’re still doing group activities, but we’re just maintaining distance,” Pennington said. “We’re doing smaller group activities” of about 3-4 residents per group, she explained.

Residents go for walks and do exercises outdoors as well. They also have a vegetable garden they tend to.

Pennington said that social distancing hasn’t stopped the facility from holding fun parties and events for residents. She said that they had a Cinco de Mayo party on Tuesday and plan to have a drive-by parade for Mother’s Day on Sunday.

“We’re trying to do things like that to keep everyone’s spirits up,” Pennington said

“Any excuse for a social distancing party is what we are going to try and go with,” she noted.  

She said that staff members help ease the loneliness of residents by wearing gloves and holding hands with them to keep them company.

“They go above and beyond,” Pennington said about her staff members. “I can’t say enough good things about my residents and caregivers.”

Pennington said that residents do miss their family members and appreciates everyone who is taking extra safety precautions during this time.

“Thank you to those who are taking precautions and staying home,” Pennington said.