The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has impacted all of our lives in unimaginable and unique ways. Fortunately, the beginning of the new year has also brought with it hopes of a return to normalcy in the form of vaccinations.
This uplifting development has certainly been true for the senior living and health care communities managed by The Goodman Group, where team members and residents across the country have been receiving the first of their inoculations in recent weeks. One such community, The Lodge at The Lakes at Stillwater, had been waiting weeks for their first dose to reach them. At last, the long-awaited vaccination clinic day occurred on Sunday, January 24.
For the team members and residents at The Lodge at The Lakes at Stillwater, reasons for choosing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine came from a range of motivations. Beth D., resident services coordinator, explained, “I think all the way through COVID, it's been my wish to be part of the solution and never part of the problem. That's really why I decided to get the vaccine.” Anghom A., a team member, stated that she had also been thinking of others: “I chose to get the vaccine not only for myself but for the people around me.”
What the COVID-19 Vaccine MEANS TO RESIDENTS AND TEAM MEMBERS
One of the most significantly impacted groups of the population has been grandparents who have been unable to visit with their grandkids due to visitation restrictions and social distancing guidelines. So for Patricia S., a resident at The Lodge, the decision was about cherishing future in-person visits with those she loves. “I can't wait to have my great-grandchildren come up to my little apartment and play with the toys that are there in a big basket,” she said. “The last I saw them, I was on the deck and they were waving [up] at me.”
For some, the hope of a brighter tomorrow comes in the wake of significant personal loss. Beth felt the impact of COVID-19 deeply and acutely – she lost her mother to the virus. “That gives it a real personal spin for me,” she explained. “You know, to be a part of solving this issue is really special for me.”
There was an air of excitement and anticipation surrounding the day, although some residents and team members said they were initially nervous to receive the vaccine. Fortunately, most barely felt the needle while getting the shot. Anghom A. said, “I was really nervous because, you know, needles... but I didn't feel it!”
Throughout the vaccination roll-out, most state governments have been focused on making it as easy as possible to inoculate the population. For health care workers, that’s meant being able to get their shot in the hospitals and clinics where they work. The residents and team members at The Lodge were pleased at the convenience of getting their shots in the community. Marilyn M., a resident, stated, “This is wonderful. To just walk downstairs and have the vaccine instead of having to make an appointment. This is perfect.”
DOING THEIR PART FOR THE COMMUNITY
Vaccination is a personal choice, but Beth explained that team members had been encouraging residents to follow the national health guidelines and receive the vaccine. And for the most part, residents seemed excited when that day had arrived. “We really have to have a majority of people getting the vaccine for it to really cause an effect that's going to be long lasting and widespread,” she said. “I would encourage people to do it if they feel comfortable with it!”
“Most of them came down early,” she laughed. “They were in line when they were just supposed to be. There was definitely a sense of anticipation and of celebration!”
Residents and team members alike are already looking forward to their second dose. Anghom said, “[The residents] were like, ‘We wish that we could have both of the rounds right now.’ And I said, ‘me too!’”
Residents feel more at peace now thinking about the months to come. Marilyn explained, “We were very excited about it and happy and relieved that we finally got [vaccinated]. The more people that get the vaccination, the better off everyone will be,” she said, smiling. “I am very hopeful for the future. I think we're going to make it. We're going to be okay.”
NEXT STEPS – "IT'S NOT OVER YET"
Of course, the pandemic is not over, but all the same, vaccination has felt like a milestone for team members and residents. Beth explained, “Hopefully, we can start to get back to being able to do activities together. They're all really missing all of that. It's good to just see a little bit of that light at the end of the tunnel.”
What matters now is taking the necessary actions to make the future brighter again. “I feel like there is restored hope today,” said Beth. “It's encouraging for sure. It's not over yet, but it's a start!”