In the last six weeks since my last update, things on property have been calm and positive. I’d like to take this opportunity to share some of the good that we’ve been seeing. The big thing is that all staff and all residents have remained healthy with no cases of COVID-19 since our lone staff member in mid-March! The Department of Health is working their way through the area to test all staff and all residents at facilities and we will update everyone once that happens.
During normal times, we treasure being able to take residents off the property for things like dinners and movies to keep them connected to the community. Additionally, live music is a big part of living here as well. To make up for this, on a biweekly basis, we have sectioned off our employee parking lot to be secure and have brought all of our outdoor patio furniture and tents to the area for the residents. We’ve coordinated food trucks and live music to set up in the street on the other side of the barricades and have been able to provide an outdoor party of sorts. The positive response from the residents has been overwhelming with lots of dancing, singing, and eating and has served as a bridge of sorts to the social activities they have become used to. The space we have and coordination with all staff has also enabled us to continue with our guidelines of small group gatherings and social distancing to do this safely.
Our landscaping here is very diverse and mature, but we have a number of functional plants here on property. Our Keitt mango tree is beginning to bear large mangos, our avocado tree is nearing full-size fruit, and our coconut palms have produced coconuts the size of my head by the dozen. Yesterday we actually had a chance to open a few dozen coconuts and serve our residents coconut water right off the tree. It was a first for some folks but undoubtedly a huge hit.
We’re also using this time of tranquility to give back to the community and those in need. A Banyan Residence has partnered with Sarasota County Aging Network (SCAN) in an effort called Feed The Front (FTF). The goal of FTF is to provide free meals to our frontline workers, such as hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabs. We’ve collected donations from countless facilities, businesses, organizations, and private donors and have physically delivered these meals to the frontlines. Just to Venice Regional Hospital alone we are donating nearly 300 meals. We’ve worked with these community staples for years and we’re happy we’re in a position that we can provide equipment, staff, and money to help out those in need. We’re also thrilled to be able to support the small business community around us. If you want more information on this effort, contact myself or Aimee Holmes and we’re happy to help.
During this time, the support from our community partners has been extraordinary. Many of the groups that come to our property to help our residents have provided support ranging from catered lunches for all staff to decorating our driveway with sidewalk chalk art. They’ve also ensured that there has been no disruption in medical care to any of our residents.
As for visitation, we continue to utilize remote audio/video to connect residents with families as well as our outdoor visitation area. We’ve since learned that we are the only property in the area offering a physical visit and open communication rather than through a sealed window. As it relates to visitors being on property, we’re continuing to monitor all data points every day as we develop our strategy moving forward. Governor DeSantis extended his State of Emergency an additional 60 days from May 8th, which extends through early July. His office has not made clear on if long-term care facilities will open at that time, but I don’t suspect it to be before the State of Emergency ends. Once the ban has been lifted, we will evaluate the risk profile with a very conservative approach and decide our response independent of the Governor.
As you all know, we have been extremely cautious and proactive since the beginning which has kept our community safe this whole time.
The patience, understanding, and support from our community and families has been invaluable and we are grateful to all of you. We look forward to maintaining a healthy and safe environment for your loved ones and the eventual return to normalcy. Should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to my office.
Administrator | A Banyan Residence