Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL), a nonprofit organization committed to improving the lives of older adults that cares for more than 3,000 seniors per day in the Boston area, took a bold, precautionary move to thwart the spread of COVID-19 this week: It has implemented a self-shelter at home directive across all of its five senior living campuses in Greater Boston, including the Jack Satter House, Revere.
Effective immediately, all residents at the Satter House have been urged to self-shelter at home, and the organization has implemented significant supports and services to provide for its senior residents throughout the self-shelter at home period. The move was met with wide support from both the HSL community and local and state health officials.
Mayor Brian Arrigo said he supported the implementation of the new self-shelter policy at the Satter House. He added that he was grateful for the Satter House’s cooperation.
Lou Woolf, President and CEO of Hebrew SeniorLife said, “COVID-19 is already taking a heavy toll in Massachusetts, and despite vigilant efforts that started in late February to prevent the occurrence of the virus on our campuses, it has been felt deeply. Time is of the essence to self-shelter at home to protect our residents and staff from this threat. This is difficult news to deliver to our community, but we are confident it’s the right step to take in order to protect residents and employees as much as possible.”
Woolf says that the entire HSL community has rallied around its residents. Employees and volunteers deliver meals, make daily wellness calls, organize programs by phone, package and deliver groceries, sort mail, coordinate age and deliver groceries, sort mail, coordinate laundry, pick up essential supplies, walk dogs, and more. There was even an organized social distancing “parade” outside of the Jack Satter House with staff holding signs and offering words of encouragement to residents sequestered in their apartments.
Woolf added, “This is not something we are ‘doing’ to residents. This is a lifesaving action that we are doing with our residents, and they support.”
Paula W., a resident of the Jack Satter House, said, “Whatever you need, they’re doing it before you even think about it – they’re fulfilling everything. I don’t know how to bring it across – unbelievable! I keep saying that but I feel blessed. I feel so safe, everybody – every single employee from Jack Satter House and Hebrew SeniorLife. We get calls every day asking if there is anything else we need. After they’ve done everything, we get a call asking what else we need. I wish every place could have the type of people we have, they’re a Godsend!”
The directive requires all residents to stay in their own apartments. During the self-shelter at home, HSL will continue to do its very best to make sure residents have everything needed to live the best life possible given the circumstances. Services during this time include trash pick-up, mail delivery and pick-up, delivery of groceries, medications, other essentials, dog-walking, and more, as described here.
Woolf continued, “Each of our campuses is beloved by the community it serves, and across our organization. We all pray for those facing COVID-19 and work to fight the virus on every level.”
HSL realizes there are many senior care organizations across the United States that are struggling with how to best protect the seniors they care for during the COVID-19 epidemic. HSL has created a “Resources for Senior Care Organizations” section of its website to share its best practices widely.