Seniors living at Rittenhouse Village at Portage thrive despite pandemic

Seniors living at Rittenhouse Village at Portage thrive despite pandemic
By: Aubrey Thomson Last Updated: September 15, 2020

From bingo to book carts, Rittenhouse Village at Portage has kept its seniors engaged and upbeat throughout the pandemic. Senior living in this day and age has certainly looked different from the past due to the influence of COVID-19, but seniors living at Rittenhouse Village have still been able to thrive and enjoy life.

One of the biggest challenges presented by COVID-19 regulations is seniors not being able to visit with their families. The Rittenhouse Village staff has worked extra hard to spend interactive, one-on-one time with seniors to make sure they feel loved and cared for. 

While seniors were not able to socialize with their friends at Rittenhouse Village the way they had before, the staff has found ways to allow them to interact while still social distancing.

“Bingo was a big one we did door-to-door,” said Director of Health and Wellness, Amanda Elkins. “We would set it up with a couple of people throughout the building and, overhead, call out numbers. Everyone had their own card which they kept so that we could keep them clean. They also did ball exercise quite a bit. They would be in their doorway, but they would kick the ball to their neighbor.”

“Before they were allowed out, the activities director would make it a point to wheel around a book cart,” Elkins said. “We still have happy hour, but that’s on a cart now as well. We’ve tried to maintain the same things we were doing, but with some adaptations.”

Elkins was happy to share that seniors are now able to socialize in small groups. Being able to interact with friends more directly has brightened everyone’s mood. While the pandemic has kept seniors more separated than before, overall, everyone has maintained positive, considerate attitudes. 

“I feel like everyone has done very well,” Elkins said. “We’ve had some ups and downs obviously with seniors missing family members, but everybody watches the news. They don’t like the new rules, but they understand them. Everybody understands their importance. I think people are respectful of each other.”

Seniors were not the only ones feeling cut off from others during COVID-19. The families and of the seniors living at Rittenhouse Village also missed being able to connect with their loved ones. Rittenhouse Village made sure to address not only seniors’ concerns but also their families’ concerns.

“We communicate with the families on a daily basis through email,” Elkins said. “We send out a daily update to let them know everything is okay. We update them on the changes we’ve made as far as cleaning schedules and any changes in dining times. We had to break it up into two different times to make sure we’re still social distancing. The more you know, the less you’re scared. I think they take a lot of comfort in knowing that we really limit visitation to essential staff. We take our procedures very seriously and I think that lends to our success.”

The Rittenhouse Village staff took the right measures at the start of the pandemic to protect their seniors. Their effort shines through in the health and happiness of their seniors. 

“We have had no cases at all since the beginning,” Elkins said. “We’ve been proactive. We’ve taken every measure that was recommended by the CDC to try and maintain our seniors’ health.” 

To learn more about Rittenhouse Village at Portage and catch a glimpse of their senior activities, check out their website and Facebook page