Senior Living’s Edge over Nursing Homes in Containing COVID-19

Caregiver assisting male resident with meal

When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 



A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found that senior living communities “may be in a better position to contain the spread of the disease” compared with nursing homes. Wait, senior living communities and nursing homes aren’t the same thing? Not at all! Far too many people make that mistake. In fact, it’s the differences between the two that have helped senior living communities better protect their residents from COVID-19. Learn why and the specific precautions that Vitality Living communities are taking.

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Senior Living versus Nursing Homes

There are a number of differences between senior living and nursing homes, but we’ll focus on the ones related to the findings in the CDC study: contact with healthcare providers and social distancing ability.

Level of Care (and its impact on contact with healthcare providers)

Senior living communities are focused on lifestyle and wellness with a range of amenities and enrichment opportunities. They typically feature a range of accommodations from private apartments to free-standing cottages which offer ample room to social distance as do the beautiful outdoor spaces these communities offer. Plus, there are abundant technology options to help keep residents engaged and connected during COVID-19 without being physically together. This ability was another plus for senior living communities in containing COVID-19 per the CDC study.

As nursing homes are primarily a medical setting, the environment feels more like that of a hospital with residents living in smaller ‘rooms’ often with a roommate which makes social distancing extremely difficult.

Our Response to COVID-19

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vitality remains 100 percent committed to limiting exposure to our residents, families and team members. Our strategy follows infection control protocols as well as CMS restrictions and includes:

For Residents

  • Limited engagement to small groups and in settings where 6 feet of distance between individuals can be maintained.
  • Dining restrictions
    • In Assisted Living and Independent living – all dining limited to apartments.
    • In Memory Care, dining areas set-up to accommodate social distancing of 6 feet between individuals.
  • Self-isolating all new move-ins.
  • Multiple daily temperature checks for all residents.
  • Providing daily updates via Facebook in each community.
  • Scheduling FaceTime/ Skype sessions for residents and families.

For Team Members

  • Allowing only essential individuals in our communities (those providing needed essential care for our residents).
  • Frequent disinfecting of commonly touched environmental surfaces to decrease environmental contamination.
  • Team members providing direct care wear masks.
  • All team members equipped with proper PPE in the event of a positive COVID-19 case.
  • Ask team members to complete a screening questionnaire and have their temperature taken daily.
  • Strict adherence to CDC hand washing and hand sanitizer guidelines.
  • Frequent sanitization of all common areas and surfaces.

COVID-19 Testing

  • New move-ins are tested 72 hours prior to move-in date.
  • Current residents exhibiting potential symptoms.
  • Team members/staff exhibiting potential symptoms and/or potential exposure.
  • Potential new team members tested before start date.

Moving Forward

We are maintaining our current protocols and asking families to be patient and understanding as we continue to be closed to visitors for the near future.  As things open locally, we are asking our team members to use caution and to respect social distancing, hand washing and limiting personal exposure while not at work.

We’re still welcoming new residents to our communities – safely! To learn more, contact us to schedule a virtual tour.

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