While no one disputes the current need for lockdowns, particularly those targeted on protecting seniors and those with comorbidities, Christenson Communities feels lockdowns cannot be the only strategy and points out that prevention, mental health, and reducing depression are also of high importance and need attention during these times. Long-term care (LTC) and designated supportive living (DSL) beds definitely need heightened protocols, but independent living seniors, adult condominiums, and rental apartments must also balance quality of life alongside medical models of protection.
Suggestions around using empty hotels and using publicly funded private surgeries for isolation are common and sensible options.
“I just want to bring to everyone’s attention that a better alternative is available: using vacant purpose-built seniors’ apartments, ultimately reducing pressure on hospitals. We need to use all available resources, both staff and buildings, with a balanced COVID-19 and quality-of-life strategy and outcomes as our common priority. We all need to work together,” says Greg Christenson, president, co-owner, Christenson Group of Companies
“Christenson Communities currently has over 150 new and nearly-new residential units designed for aging in place, in communities with attractive areas for isolation (and socialization when appropriate), on-site meals or in-suite kitchens, balconies or patios and 24-hour on-site care available,” continues Greg. “These buildings have fire sprinklers and two-hour concrete block fire walls to provide horizontal egress and staged evacuation from upper floors for persons with limited mobility. Many are B2 long-term care treatment occupancy, or B3-assisted living care occupancy in the Alberta Building and Fire Codes. These residential homes and communities have more space per resident, better ventilation and better ability to isolate when compared to many institutional long-term care facilities or acute care hospitals.”
Greg further notes, “Our communities experienced great results from March to October during the pandemic where no positive tests and no deaths were present among our 1,200 residents and 400+ professional staff. After October, cases and or symptoms have developed organically in some of our communities, although we do have communities across the province that have not seen a case to date.”
Christenson Communities has controlled and managed each case that has developed with the utmost attention to detail.
“We continue to navigate our way through these unprecedented times and move forward with confidence in our knowledgeable and skilled team,” confirms Greg. “We are following all guidelines under the provincial health authority and have implemented our own additional precautions in all of our communities. As a local company, deeply rooted and invested in the province, we continue to ensure our residents receive comfort, attentive care, and enhanced safety while maintaining a high quality of life. While eliminating and minimizing COVID-19 cases is something we strive for, our residents and their families take peace of mind in knowing that if and when cases are identified, our team is there to support and protect the residents and staff.”
He concludes, “Alberta needs to leverage all resources to meet these types of urgent challenges, both now, in the short term, over the longer term and in the future, as demand for more choice and alternatives in seniors care is growing. Residential models are proving to be both more appealing to seniors and their families, safer than institutional models and offer greater choice overall.”
The Christenson Communities pandemic response can be viewed at: https://www.cdlhomes.com/covid19/response