By Caitlyn Gudmundsen, Senior Manager of Program Development and Outreach
Today’s Front Line Hero is Ecumen, which is finding innovative ways to connect seniors and families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ecumen provides senior housing and other services for thousands of residents at 40-plus communities across eight states. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Ecumen implemented necessary protocols to protect residents from the virus, including visitor restrictions, but wanted to ensure that the seniors’ social and emotional needs were met, as well, recognizing that isolation and loneliness can have a major impact on health and well-being.
Shelley Kendrick, President and CEO of Ecumen, spoke about the organization’s commitment to social connection and innovation on WCCO | CBS Minnesota’s “Mid-Morning” show. She mentioned that the Minnesota Department of Health recently announced that congregate care facilities could begin to allow essential caregiver visits. Ecumen quickly and enthusiastically began preparing for those visits to ensure safety for staff, residents, and visitors. Additionally, Ecumen continues to encourage families to visit their loved ones virtually and through windows, and created Connection Stations, which are Plexiglas rooms through which residents can visit their families without using masks, allowing them to see the smiling faces of their families. Ecumen is also piloting robots in many communities. These robots sit on the desktop and are interactive, providing scheduling, connecting families, and even communicating with residents and sensing their emotions.
Thank you to Ecumen for your commitment to seniors’ holistic well-being, and your innovation to achieve social connection!