Chennai, March 17 (IANS) Limiting visitors and outside visits, stopping group activities, discouraging assembly of residents even in cafeterias, promoting telemedicine, convincing the residents who had been to countries with rising COVID-19 cases to delay their return are some of the precautions taken at retirement communities to ring fence around the senior residents, said officials.
With the senior citizens more susceptible to the pandemic infection owing to their age and lower immunity levels, the retirement community majors are implementing several precautionary measures, which also includes increasing the hygiene levels of the staff, care givers and vendors.
According to officials at the retirement communities their residents are in the age group of 60-85. These residents are not complaining against the preventive measures as they guess they are for a short period time.
“The way the management has looked at the issue is lot stricter than the way the country as a whole looks at the threat of Coronavirus. The risk profile is high for infection in retirement communities,” W.V.K. Krishna Shankar, former Director in Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd, residing in CovaiCare retirement community in Coimbatore told IANS over phone.
The officials have also said that the outbreak will not impact their business as the potential is huge in the country.
According to Shankar, the residents are advised to be at home, avoid visiting relatives, friends and group meetings inside the gated community for a month or two.
He also said the residents have been advised to avoid visiting or meeting relatives who have recently come from overseas for some time to come.
For elders with assisted care, entry to their dwelling is banned for all except for the care givers. They will not be in contact with others even when they are taken out to the park, Shankar said.
“There is huge spike in the usage of our telemedicine facility by the community members. That is one of the ways to prevent spread of coronavirus,” retired Colonel A. Sridharan, Founder and Managing Director, CovaiCare Group told IANS.
Sridharan said he has to first ensure his staff members do not bring in any disease and started the safety measures with them like providing sanitisers, soaps and handgun thermometer.
According to him, the staff also ask the visitors their travel history and pass the information to the residents via intercom.
At all the retirement communities the common touch points like rails, switches, lift buttons are sanitised at regular intervals.
The retirement community companies are not planning to pass on the increased cost of maintenance to their members.
“In order to increase the immunity levels of the residents we give Nilavembu Kashayam/a herbal drink. We also give juices/soups with lemon extract as one of the ingredients mixed to build up the immunity levels,” retired Commodore M. T. Ramesh, Head of Operations, Colombia Pacific Communities told IANS.
Ramesh said the company is adopting a three-pronged approach – creating awareness, prevention and promotion- against the spread of Coronavirus inside the nine gated communities located in different cities.
“We have requested our residents to request their relatives not to visit them over for some time to come,” he added.
Apart from increased cleaning and sanitizing operations one of the industry major Ashiana Housing Ltd has requested its residents not to invite their relatives and friends to their dwellings and also discourage them from gathering together at the cafeteria within the compound, said C.P. Muralidhara, Deputy General Manager told IANS.
Queried about the psychological impact that the seniors have owing to the in/out bound travel restrictions preventing the residents to meet their loved ones Muralidhara said: “We are speaking with our residents frequently. Our staff will also go to their place with tablets so that they can talk to their loved ones via Internet.”