Essential Conversations with Dr. Amy: Should I take my parent out of their retirement residence?

As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold, some people have wondered if they should take their parent out of a retirement or long term care residence until the stay-at-home orders are lifted. This decision requires a lot of careful thought.

It is likely that your parent moved into a retirement residence because you all recognized it is the best place for them to live. Retirement residences are committed to both keeping their residents safe and helping them have the best quality of life possible during the pandemic.

One of the best aspects of retirement living is socialization, and that is true during this pandemic. The staff are always aware of the need for social connection and are checking in with residents regularly and engaging with them through ‘in-suite’ entertainment like daily puzzles, riddles, cross words and goodie bags. That means the residents are never truly alone; which is a big source of comfort for families who can’t be there in person right now.

Before considering taking a parent out of their retirement residence—which operators like Chartwell are strongly discouraging for the safety of residents—it is important to realistically assess if your home is set up to keep your parent from possible exposure to the virus and in a manner that everyone can live together safely and happily. Typically, older adults don’t want to leave the comfort and safety of their familiar surroundings.

Older adults in retirement residences are never alone and, if someone were to get sick or the retirement residence to have an outbreak of the virus, staff have the correct PPE equipment, infection controls and enhanced monitoring to continue caring for them.

Rest assured the staff of your parent’s retirement residence is committed to doing everything possible to keep your parent as healthy and happy as possible during the pandemic. Remembering why your mom or dad moved into retirement living in the first place can be very helpful during these times: safety, socialization and attentive care are just some of the benefits of retirement living. Although there is a pandemic right now, the advantages of retirement living continue