By Lauren Schiffman, Contributing Writer
MARLBOROUGH – After periods of being on “pause” for the past year due to the pandemic, Christopher Heights of Marlborough has pressed “play” again. The assisted living community has been following COVID guidelines put forth by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs, the CDC, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and has “weathered the storm well,” according to Stephanie Nordstrom, Director of Marketing & Admissions.
“Our team has done such a good job making sure everything is clean and disinfected, that everyone is appropriately spaced and that all staff and residents wear masks,” Nordstrom added.
A new way of engaging
Rethinking the every day in an effort to stay safe required creative programming for resident engagement, safety and care. Nordstrom said that it’s been “a super balancing act.” While no outside personnel like entertainers or volunteers have been allowed into the community, small group activities like bingo, crossword puzzles, exercise and daily happy hour keep residents safely connected to their community.
During these activities, residents are more spread out than they typically would be, and they must wear their masks. “We wanted our residents to feel engaged, even without regular family visits,” Nordstrom said.
One unique addition is the pen pal program. Different organizations, like a local Girl Scout troop as well as members of the community at large sent cards, notes and letters to residents, during a time of isolation. “It was so nice to see their excitement over receiving letters and cards, and it was fun to watch new friendships blossom,” Nordstrom said.
Mealtimes have also been adjusted for additional space and peace of mind. Christopher Heights boasts three dining rooms. “Everyone can eat safely and distantly but still have a sense of togetherness,” Nordstrom said.
As vaccine numbers continue to increase and the weather improves, adult children are more comfortable visiting their loved ones. With an eye on secondary effects of isolation, Christopher Heights made a concerted effort to ensure that residents’ mental health remains strong.
To date, staff and residents have been fully vaccinated. While Nordstrom awaits the state’s guidelines on next steps for safety, all safety precautions are still intact: masks are worn at all times, and all visitors are screened before entry.
Nordstrom added that more social and engagement activities, like entertainment, are being planned and will launch when it is safe to do so.
Open for move-in
With 83 private one-bedroom, studio and alcove apartments, Christopher Heights offers a unique, scalable financial model, which allows residents to comfortably age in place. Different price points reflect a variety of services and amenities, which include daily chef-prepared meals; assistance with personal care; community-building and social activities; light housekeeping; and laundry services.
All apartments are laid out with resident safety in mind. Each has a walk-in shower with a seat; a kitchenette; handrails for physical support; and pull cords for assistance. An 24-hour emergency response system is monitored for additional peace of mind.
To learn more about Christopher Heights, or to request a tour, call 508-281-8001 or visit www.christopherheights.com.