Some assisted living facilities start to allow visitation as morale of residents drops

Some assisted living facilities in La. start allowing visitation to boost morale of residents

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - While the state has slowly been able to open up and get back to lives that have some semblance of normalcy, parents, and grandparents living in nursing homes and retirement communities are still largely isolated and cut off from loved ones.

Many were hopeful visitation would resume in Phase 3 but Governor Edwards squashed those hopes when he announced only parishes with less than a five percent positivity rate for COVID would be eligible to have homes open up to outside guests.

Some facilities have found that isolation has taken a toll that’s nearly as bad COVID-19 for some residents. One of the owners of Lake Sherwood Retirement Community, Neil Juneau, says the morale of residents became so bad, they had to start opening up. They were only able to do so though because it’s a privately-owned facility and isn’t bound by the state’s restrictions because it isn’t licensed.

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“We have slowly begun to bring back that socialization. Family members would come and they would talk through a window and then we started letting them get out of their apartments,” said Juneau.

On Friday, Juneau said retirees were allowed to start having one designated families member visit during certain hours of the day. They could also start leaving the facility but with restrictions.

" We don’t allow any of our residents to go to any public venue like a grocery store or a salon or anything like that," he said. “We’re not that loose yet because it’s our opinion we’re not ready to do that.”

For the parishes that are able to meet the requirements for state-licensed nursing homes to reopen, Gov. Edwards said the state is working on a pilot program. The Louisiana Dept. of Health is working on details for that program but has not released any further information at this time.

The state is working on a pilot program that would allow some state-licensed homes to reopen to visitors. Those would only be in parishes that have had a positivity rate of less than 5% for at least two weeks though. No other details about the program have been released at this time.

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