IntegraCare increases hiring, emphasizes 'happiness, joy' despite pandemic
Senior living communities provide residents, team members healthy options
Schools. Workplaces. Restaurants. Shopping centers. Communities. Family homes. Seemingly no one has been spared from the uncertainty and challenges associated with the coronavirus.
IntegraCare has strived to make the health and safety of residents and team members its top priority throughout these challenging times at 12 senior living communities located throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.
Pittsburgh-based IntegraCare has taken steps to ensure its communities' teams are robustly staffed to better serve residents while also preventing the spread of COVID-19.
In 2020, IntegraCare has hired 162 team members through late September. That total is more than double the number of 61 employees hired in 2019.
"We pride ourselves in cultivating career opportunities and creating an engaging and exciting work environment,"
The IntegraCare team has diligently followed guidelines and practices that have kept communities in three states safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.
IntegraCare's weekly testing continues across Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. The results have been encouraging. While earlier in the process some communities did encounter cases of COVID-19, IntegraCare's protocols quickly detected those cases and addressed the situation, with little or no additional transmissions. Currently, IntegraCare remains 100% COVID-free in all 12 communities located in three states.
While the pandemic has created uncertainty and concern, there still are plenty of encouraging developments among residents and team members.
"Happiness and joy are not canceled," said Butch Cassiday, IntegraCare Regional LifeStyles and LifeStories Director. "We are highlighting the positive vibes within our communities. We have safely participated in activities while social distancing and wearing masks. We have celebrated personal milestones and birthdays in a safe manner."
'Happiness and joy'
Examples of the "happiness and joy" philosophy are visible throughout the IntegraCare communities.
Tom and Delia Jennings recently moved into Hunters Woods at Trails Edge in Reston, Virginia. They've been married for 37 years, but had not seen each other in person for six weeks – the longest the couple ever had been apart – because Tom had health issues that required a hospital stay and rehabilitation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Their reunion at Hunters Woods at Trails Edge was moving and emotional. They now share an apartment at the senior community. "Delia is the love of my life," Tom said. "I'm never letting go."
A milestone recently was celebrated at The Woods at Cedar Run in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Mildred Clemens received silver balloons in the shape of the number 100, as the team at The Woods sang happy birthday and presented her with a cake in recognition of her 100th birthday on Sept. 4.
Mildred, who is affectionately known as "Mickey," shared the moment with her husband Dale, who is 98. Other family members joined the festivities while following COVID-19 guidelines. "Mickey" has resided at The Woods since April 2019.
IntegraCare has done its part to help family members interact with their loved ones amid the coronavirus restrictions, especially early during the pandemic.
Virtual hugs and messages were delivered through a special portal, enabling family members, residents and even team members to share special experiences online. Short video messages of grandchildren, photos of children and other touching moments were shared virtually.
Colonial Courtyard at Bedford in Pennsylvania became a social media hit in the early months of the pandemic and used the Internet to not only pass along important messages and guidelines, but also had some residents' Facebook posts reach more than 10,000 people with as many as 1,000 clicks.
"A few of our posts went 'viral,' which is a word we really don't like to use during these challenging times," said Heidi Brown, Colonial Courtyard at Bedford LifeStages Coordinator. "It perked up everybody's spirits 100 percent," Brown said of the #COVID-19Warriors campaign and senior salutations.
IntegraCare introduced its popular "Conversation Stations" that allowed visits and conversations among family and loved ones who had missed out on such interaction due to the pandemic restrictions.
The outdoor stations debuted on Mother's Day weekend and were an instant hit, allowing people to safely reconnect while following social-distancing guidelines. An enclosure with a frame and large sections of plexiglass separates the residents and the family members, but allows them to see each other and converse.
The Conversation Stations played a huge role in uplifting spirits until regular visits were permitted.
IntegraCare implemented the "happiness and joy" concept among its team members throughout the challenging times. Employees and their families received pies for Easter, and IntegraCare sent Memorial Day picnic items to 615 team members during that holiday weekend.
"Our team deserved to have an opportunity to share time with family and have the items necessary to have a picnic," Cassiday said.
To show team members' children how much their parents were appreciated for their hard work during a pandemic, IntegraCare delivered age-appropriate gifts and backpacks to 349 children of "Hero Employees."
"We want the kids to understand how much their parent not only means to us, but also how much they mean to our residents," Cassiday said.
Recently, the IntegraCare team had a chance to win a cooler raffle or score one of four "Staycation"
Life certainly has changed this year. While the coronavirus pandemic has impacted all of us, IntegraCare continues to put the health and safety of its residents and team members at the forefront while following COVID-19 guidelines and precautions.
Butch Cassiday, Reg. LifeStyles/LifeStories Dir.
(724) 940-5544 Ext. 130