Restrictions relaxed: Assisted living facilities to allow guests soon

Thursday, July 2, 2020
Darvin Hartzell celebrates his 97th birthday on June 15 at Prestige Assisted Living.
Submitted photo

By Haley Schichtl

Arkansasí assisted living facilities have subject to strict directives during the COVID-19 pandemic, because they are home to the most vulnerable population.

Arkansas facilities are testing all residents and employees for COVID-19, and the state is allowing facilities that test completely negative to move into a new phase in July, which will allow visitors and residents to meet outside.

Kendra Ridenour, office manager at Peachtree Village in Holiday Island, said the residents are going a little stir crazy, but mostly doing well and staying healthy.

"We're going to start allowing them to have visitors meeting outside with masks," Ridenour said.

If a family member or friend wants to give a resident something, they can meet a staff member at the door but cannot go inside.

Kathy Clark, owner of Holly House in Eureka Springs, said her facility will be doing the same thing.

"It's been difficult, but we've made it possible for them to see their family outside their window," Clark said.

Prestige Assisted Living in Holiday Island is getting ready to start accepting visitors, medical technician Carrie Brazauskas said.

"We have a courtyard that has a gate and their loved ones can sit out there in a mask and talk to residents on the other side of the gate," Brazauskas said.

Brazauskas said she brings her 8-month-old dog to work every day, which helps the residents keep from getting too lonely. The dog only goes home and to work with Brazauskas.

"Once the state lifts the lockdown, we'll be allowing visitors inside," director Aronica Reed said. "For 14 days after that, the staff will keep screening ourselves, checking temps, wearing masks, and asking visitors to wear masks."

Reed said Prestige will be having a big fireworks display with drinks and snacks for the residents on Friday, July 3.

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