As you all are preparing for your next move, you may be wondering how The Spires is preparing for you. In normal times as we prepare to open a new continuing care retirement community like The Spires our time is filled with finalizing building finishes, considering hiring the right team members and ordering all of our supplies. In this time of a global pandemic, our days continue to be filled with these basics, but we are also considering all of the different ways to keep our residents safe.

Our goal as we open The Spires is to exercise an abundance of caution to keep our residents and team members safe and healthy, while striking a balance with fulfilling the lifestyle promises you are expecting.

Fortunately, we aren’t the only Greenbrier community adapting to life in the midst of COVID-19. Other Greenbrier communities across the country have implemented several tactics that we can follow. In Georgia, the shelter-in-place order has lifted, but seniors 65+ are still recommended to shelter-in-place as much as possible until June 12. We will open the community on June 1 with extra precautionary measures.

For communal settings like retirement communities, it is imperative that we follow the strict guidelines presented by the Centers for Disease Control regarding communities like The Spires. The following guidelines are cited from

I’ve outlined each of these guidelines and provided further explanation on how we’ll be handling those activities at The Spires.

  • Cancel all public or non-essential group activities and events.
    • While these events may be canceled in person, we are able to adapt our activities calendar for virtual events so our residents can still enjoy recreational activities and cultural events online.
    • As these restrictions lessen over time, many of our communities have started hosting small group events where there is at least 6 feet of space between all participants. Fortunately, we have plenty of room at The Spires, and in the early days of opening, less residents. We expect to be able to host a variety of events in this fashion.
    • We will limit outside staff and visitors. All team members will go through a wellness check at the beginning of each work day, and will be required to wear a cloth face mask whenever in a public space. Guests will be subject to the same wellness check.
    • All outside vendors (including movers) will be required to pass a wellness check at the beginning of each work day and wear a cloth face mask whenever in a public space.
    • Our dining program can continue. When we open The Spires in June, we’ll practice social distancing in our dining areas where tables and chairs can be at least 6 feet apart from each other.
  • Clean and disinfect all common areas and shared facilities
    • This is no different than our normal operations. Our common area spaces will be cleaned daily with special attention to high touch surfaces, including, but not limited to door handles, faucets, toilet handles, light switches, elevator buttons, handrails, countertops, chairs, tables, remove controls and shared exercise equipment.
  • Inform residents, workers, volunteers and visitors about COVID-19
    • Our community is equipped with the TouchTown communications system where residents can view regular communication from our team on televisions throughout The Spires campus. We will also post information in our mail rooms and other common area spaces to keep you up to date on the facts of COVID-19. Should one of our residents or team members become infected with COVID-19, we will make you aware immediately and put into place additional protocols to contain infection.
  • Encourage personal protective measures.
    • All team members will be required to wear a cloth face covering whenever they are in a public area. Team members handling food or housekeeping services will be required to wear gloves at all times.
    • Residents are encouraged to wear face coverings whenever in a public area.
  • Help residents establish a “buddy” system to ensure they stay connected.
    • Fortunately, many of our residents already have a good friend moving to The Spires, but for those that don’t, we’ll be sure that when you move in you have a neighbor or friend that can be your “buddy.” This is essential during this difficult time – especially when we are going through the heightened stress of transitioning to a new community. We want you and your buddy to check in with each other, and we encourage that you have a plan in place should one of you become ill. Our healthcare team is available for you 24/7 to address any questions or concerns.

It has been a joy for me to learn from several of our other Greenbrier communities how residents have adapted and thrived in their communities during this time. Many of our communities planned well ahead of any state orders for shelter-in-place and immediately closed to outside visitors. This has fortunately prevented outbreaks or cases in the vast majority of our Greenbrier communities. We will continue to monitor the situation, and we appreciate all your support in helping us make The Spires a safe and wonderful place to live.

By Laurie Steber