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Senior living centers slowly allow visitors as COVID cases drop, vaccinations increase

senior citizens
Posted at 7:01 PM, Feb 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-25 19:02:34-05

SOUTHFIELD (WXYZ) — "As of March 1, we're going to be opening up more to our independent living folks so they can have a visit with their loved ones," said Lynn Alexander, Sr. Vice President & Marketing Officer for Presbyterian Villages of Michigan (PVM), a faith-based, nonprofit with senior living locations across Michigan.

At the same time, Alexander said they are also looking to have loved ones of their residents in their nursing home residents begin visits as well.

In the last year, Alexander said the staff at their senior living locations across Michigan have been able to help their residents engage as much as possible with loved ones in unique ways, such as hugging stations and parades.

"I don't know if that's happening everywhere, but that's made an enormous difference for us," Alexander said.

At nursing homes and long-term care facilities across Michigan, cases of COVID-19 are dramatically decreasing with the vaccinations of residents and staff. And many hope the trend triggers an increase in visits allowed with loved ones.

Karen Rae-Polachowski's 92-year-old mother, who is now vaccinated, is in the Church of Christ Assisted Living Center in Clinton Township where they just opened up this week for residents to have two visits a week.

Anyone visiting must have an appointment and undergo testing for COVID-19 prior to their arrival.

"It's been sad," Karen said about the restrictions that have kept her and her sisters from having contact with their mom. But, just yesterday, her sister, who tested negative, was able to finally visit with their mom in her room, with masks.

"She was just thrilled," she said. "So happy to grab onto my sisters and hug them."

Karen and her brother plan to visit in the coming days. "It gave her so much hope that she has something to look forward to."