Solstice Senior Living is an independent senior living community that operates on the motto: “Live life vibrantly.” That belief has always been at the core of how they support their residents, and it has become even more important as Solstice Senior Living has successfully battled the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We create a community living environment for seniors aged 55 and over that are independent,” says Executive Director Larry MacDonald, who takes special care to make this community inviting, engaging, and safe. “They’re not ready to go to assisted living.”
“We provide an environment that is very vibrant,” he continues. Three gourmet meals are prepared daily by a private chef and under normal circumstances, everyone eats together in the dining room. There are hobbies, TED Talks, planned movies, arts and crafts activities, music. “Some of our residents have book clubs, writing clubs, or genealogy clubs. Anything you would be part of outside in the local community is happening in the community here.”
Not to mention, Solstice Senior Living is in beautiful Fairhaven, where residents have access to trails, biking, parks, and the waterfront.
MacDonald and his team pride themselves on creating an environment that is truly supportive and caring of its residents. And that support and care has only grown during the pandemic. The steps they’ve taken to keep their residents healthy have created a “safe bubble” that prevents exposure and keeps spirits high.
When COVID-19 hit, Solstice Senior Living took immediate precautions. “The first case in Washington was in an assisted living community,” MacDonald says. “We took immediate steps to lock down our building, prevented people coming and going from the building, and followed CDC and state suggestions. We went into defensive mode.”
The residents, their family members, and MacDonald’s team were all on board. And in the eight months since the initial outbreak, Solstice Senior Living has developed a system that protects their residents while also helping them thrive. “We stay on top of what the CDC and our state says, as well as implement our own policies within the community regarding sanitation, masks, and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment),” says MacDonald.
Solstice Senior Living has also been empowered by their corporate offices to buy technology and tools that ensure residents’ ongoing health and wellness. That includes a touchless thermal screener for taking temperatures and a sanitizing sprayer that’s used three times a day in the community. They also have an ionizing air purification system that purifies the air in the community’s common spaces, reducing by 98.7% the risk of SARS, the flu, and COVID-19. It’s the same type of system that is used in most hospitals and cancer treatment centers.
“I could fill a book with the policies we’ve implemented,” MacDonald says. “At first it was a task list, and now it’s just a way of life. It takes a team, and everybody working from the same script. PPE is so effective right now. As a population, following CDC guidelines is very wise. If we want to avoid COVID-19, we’re obviously going to do the right things to do that. We’re a susceptible population here at Solstice, so we’re doing everything we possibly can.”
Solstice Senior Living’s health and safety measures have created a community where residents can feel comfortable and confident that they are well-cared-for. MacDonald and his team also know that happiness is a key component in sustainable health and wellness. “We do things that keep our residents engaged and involved in social activities,” he says, “as well as just getting out of their apartments and being part of something.”
The care that Solstice Senior Living demonstrates is appreciated and valued by residents’ family members, as well. “We have visitations on our patios, and from the balconies and the windows,” says MacDonald. “Our residents and their families have given up a lot of freedom, and they’ve missed out on a lot of things—and their families still reach out and tell you how much they appreciate you keeping their mother or father alive. That goes a long way.”
Solstice Senior Living has been able to find bright sides, too. “In some cases, you’re giving people a whole new means of communication and a whole new platform via technology that can open new doors for them. Some of our residents’ relatives live outside the Seattle and Bellingham area, and these technologies have stepped up residents’ abilities to reach out to their sons or daughters.”
Solstice Senior Living is a community where seniors can thrive and feel safe in the knowledge that they are protected and cared for, and where they can truly live life vibrantly.