The Shafter Press - Serving the community since 1922

By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

Seniors thriving at Carrington


Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

Executive Director Alicia Webb, in mask, along with Activity Director Teresa Hernandez, right in mask, with residents Marylan Miller, Ellen Rexius, Doris Unruh and Jack West.

With the city of Shafter facing the Coronavirus pandemic, including a Stay at Home order by Governor Newsom and the closure of the schools and many businesses in town, one of the groups that the Health Department says is a high-risk group is those individuals 65 and over.

Handling the pandemic in Shafter's assisted living facilities includes facing challenges to keep the residents safe and healthy, while still allowing them to thrive in this unprecedented environment.

Meeting those challenges head-on is the staff at the Carrington House in Shafter. Led by Carrington Executive Director Alicia Webb, the staff at Carrington have dedicated their efforts to making their residents' lives as unaffected as possible by the current situation.

With their residents particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 due to age and other health concerns, the facility staff has implemented some changes to day-to-day operations. Webb said that they hope through minimizing contact and practicing social distancing, they can ensure the health and safety of their residents and employees during this difficult time.

They have also altered their meal procedures to effectively safeguard them even further. There are three different dining areas for meal times. With two to four residents at a table, the tables are set six feet apart from each other.

The facility's Activity Program also has seen some changes. The different activities are limited to five residents at a time for each activity.

For those who do not want to come out for activities during the pandemic, individual activity packets are available.

One of the biggest impacts the virus situation has made is in visiting procedures and policies. For the safety of the residents and the staff, accommodations for family visits consist of writing weekly letters, Facetiming with family members, and texting families with pictures and updates. Those in-person visits consist of porch visits with family members six feet away from the residents.

"I am truly blessed and grateful for my employees and how they have dealt with this pandemic to ensure our residents' health and safety," Webb said.

The pandemic has affected residents, as well as staff members to a certain degree, while still keeping the morale and spirits of the residents up. Medical Tech Amanda Jaime commented, "COVID-19 has made me more conscientious of where I go after leaving work for the health and safety of our residents."

The residents sometimes struggle with the situation, but are getting by with the help of the staff and the other residents. Resident Jack West said, "Sometimes it can get depressing because I can't go out with my friends for breakfast, coffee or go get goodies from the grocery store, or even to have friends come for a visit."

But, West said, that there are good things, too. "A big positive is the activities. They are great and get our mind off of things for a bit. We also get to communicate with everyone else in the facility."

Activity Director Teresa Hernandez said that keeping their residents' spirits up during this difficult time is one of their top priorities. Hernandez echoed a sentiment that resonates throughout the facility. "We have a saying at Carrington that we always tell our residents, "We will get through this together.""


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