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| 2 min read | by Lonnie Huhman, lhuhman@thesuntimesnews.com |

Like many in the world today, residents and staff at retirement/senior living communities are facing unchartered waters during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

However, also like many, they are facing these challenges with positivity and vigilance.

Locally, residents and staff at Silver Maples of Chelsea and the UMRC Chelsea Retirement Community have had to adjust their daily lives in almost every way. From visits and eating to activities and gatherings, residents have had to make the necessary changes.

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Both communities are working hard as they continue on with their missions.

“All in all we are doing well,” said Steve Fetyko, President and CEO of UMRC and Porter Hills.

When answering the question, what would you like the community to know, Julie Deppner, Silver Maples’ Executive Director and CEO said, “We want the members of our community to know that the residents and staff at Silver Maples are in good spirits and are doing their part to Stay Home and Stay Safe!”

 She said one resident recently shared that he and his wife are well and happy, “and not yet stir-crazy.” 

“She is an avid reader on her Kindle, and is enjoying long conversations with relatives and friends, taking longish walks outdoors and inside, and enjoying some wonderful TV programs!” Deppner said.  “We encourage everyone to reach out to their loved ones and find ways to stay connected via the phone and computer.”

At UMRC, there’s one resident turning 100 years old on April 3. The community’s Facebook page announced that not even the COVID-19 pandemic will stop them from making sure it’s a special day. As part of the celebration, they are hoping to get at least 100 birthday cards sent to the community to surprise this resident.

On the staff side of things, the challenges are tough at times, but both directors said their teams are working hard.

“We have a wonderful care and support service team and implemented our plans (and modified with the continuing changing federal and state guidance) quickly and efficiently,” Fetyko said.  

Deppner said their, “care staff are implementing safety precautions on a daily basis, which include continuous hand washing, sanitizing, monitoring themselves for symptoms, and practicing social distancing in public places.”

 Both have implemented a number of changes and restrictions to ensure the safety and health of everyone at the communities.

“It is certainly a stressful time for our teams and those we serve, but they are all doing a wonderful job of making sure we provide the best care and safest environment in all our communities and service lines,” Fetyko said.

This sentiment and attitude is shared by Silver Maples.

“We care about our friends and neighbors at Silver Maples and will continue to be vigilant in not only providing the best care for our residents, but also putting supportive measures in place for them to be safe and well,” Deppner said.

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