Arcadia Family of Companies Finds Successful Ways to Re-Open Some Resident Activities in its Life Plan Communities

15 Craigside resident George Akiyoshi enjoyed a long-awaited visit with his son, daughter, and their two dogs. “We didn’t get together for a while, so their visit was really nice,” he says.

As some communities across the United States begin loosening COVID-19 restrictions, so, too, are many CHHSM member organizations. The Arcadia Family of Companies, based in Honolulu, recently reopened several activities in its Life Plan Communities of Arcadia and 15 Craigside. Careful restrictions and rules are in place to ensure safety, but thanks to responsible residents and employees, such activities as leaving the property for non-medical reasons and some in-person visits have been safely restarted. The activities include regulations based on CDC, state, and local requirements.

“During the month of May, most residents who voluntarily left the building for something other than a medical necessity were placed on a mandatory quarantine in their apartments for 14 days,” says Suzie Schulberg, president and CEO. “Given that the number of cases in Hawai’i held steady, and our residents were doing an excellent job with staying home, social distancing, performing good hand hygiene, and practices other precautionary measures, we allowed for the loosening of restrictions as of June 1.”

Currently, the assisted living and independent living residents are able to have in-person visits of one hour with family or friends, as long as the visits are held outside in a designated area with no more than two visitors. Visitors must complete a wellness screening upon arrival — as do all employees each day. Visitors and residents must wear masks and social distance during visits, which can take place Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. until noon, and are scheduled through each community’s reception desk.

Window visits are still available at Arcadia and 15 Craigside.

At Arcadia, window visits can continue at any time, with residents sitting in the lobby and family members in the garden talking to each other via cell phone. At 15 Craigside, window visits continue by appointments made through the resident services manager.

The non-medical trips off campus without having to be quarantined have been welcomed by residents. Schulberg says that while Arcadia and 15 Craigside still encourages residents to stay home unless absolutely necessary, “this new allowance has afforded residents the opportunity to catch up on routine errands or appointments, or visit with family (in groups no larger than 10) off premises.”

As with on-site visits, residents leaving the community must wear masks, practice good hand hygiene and physical distancing. “We also require the residents to log where they are going upon leaving so we are able to perform contact tracing should a case of COVID-19 enter our communities,” Schulberg adds.

The residents have taken to the loosening of restrictions with “cautious optimism,” says Schulberg. “Some residents were eager to leave the building on the first day, but a majority of them are taking a more cautious approach. Our general populace is extremely respectful of one another, and the health and safety of their fellow residents, and they continue to be grateful for all the efforts made by staff to keep them safe.”

“We felt safe at Arcadia from the first day we moved in over four years ago, and it continues as we move forward through this difficult period,” says Herb Nakagawa, Arcadia resident. “Management has taken a proactive position to keep an invisible virus from spreading, and keeping a line of communication open with residents. A special shout out to the staff at Arcadia for keeping us safe.”

Salon services — like this salon at Arcadia — are a welcome restored activity, with strict safety precautions in place.

One particularly welcome restored activity is the salon services. Contract beauticians must complete a wellness screening upon arrival to the building, and services are conducted by appointment only, one resident at a time. “Our beauticians must adhere to the strict guidelines set forth by the CDC,” Schulberg says. “They wear masks, shields, and disinfect thoroughly in-between clients.”

Staff members are taking the adjusted regulations in stride, says Schulberg, and are “as diligent and vigilant as ever. They continue working hard and showing up to work day in and day out to perform duties above and beyond their normal scope of duty. Their resilience and adaptability in these rapidly changing times is amazing.”

Schulberg says staff members are particularly attentive to making sure visitors and residents are adhering to best practices in order to keep each other safe. For example, they remind residents to sign out if leaving the premises and encourage immediate hand sanitizing upon re-entering.

Overall, “residents have been enjoying visits on site with their family members, and a few residents have especially enjoyed getting a new haircut, color, or permanent in the salon,” says Schulberg. “Their beaming faces say it all!”

Regardless of the adjustments in activities, staff at Arcadia and 15 Craigside are aware of the need to make sure all residents feel comfortable and cared for through all of the various changes and restrictions. Two initiatives have been put in place to meet those needs. At 15 Craigside, the initiative is called “Floor Friends,” and at Arcadia, it’s called “Hanai a Kupuna” (which roughly translates into “Get a Grandparent/Elder/Ancestor”). Every week, the management team at each community reaches out — by phone, handwritten note, or in-person visit — to residents.

“Communication through social distancing is an excellent way for the residents to express ideas and feelings through a gentle and understanding mode,” says Henry Renteria, a 15 Craigside resident. “The visit concludes with the staff distributing a token of kindness … and loving appreciation.”

Kathleen Yokouchi, a 15 Craigside neighbor, agrees. Staff members “Keleka and Rosalie are representative of the loving, healing spirit of the initiative,” she says. “Although they have overwhelming responsibilities as the leaders of 15C healthcare, their visits [are] a wonderful way to have a one-on-one with each resident to say that our welfare is their priority.”

For the residents and staff, Schulberg says she is grateful. “Our staff has risen to the occasion time and time again to ensure the health and safety of those whom we serve, and one another,” she adds. “It truly takes a village to serve and protect the precious lives of our kupuna, and our staff does a great job of it.”

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