MASON, Ohio — As multiple vaccines get closer to final approval, an assisted living center in Mason prepares to be among the first facilities to participate in a COVID-19 vaccination rollout program.
Central Parke Assisted Living and Memory Care in Mason has 66 beds for seniors living with memory disorders. The center has taken careful steps to protect its residents, who are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
"Our residents are among the most vulnerable," said Penny Coffey, executive director of Central Parke Assisted Living and Memory Care.
After barring inside visits at the start of the pandemic, the center has since allowed family members to visit their loved ones, provided they follow social distancing guidelines and other safety protocol. Staff work to get creative in their efforts to help residents enjoy themselves, but there are still plenty of challenges.
"Right now, our residents' family members are not allowed to hug their loved ones," said Coffey. "They can't hold their hand."
The steps are to keep seniors in the facility safe, until a vaccine is approved for distribution. When one is, Central Parke will be one of the first senior living communities locally to receive it. The center is already enrolled in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention national vaccine program, and when a vaccine is available, residents and staff at the facility will be able to get it for free.
"Social interaction and contact is very important for our seniors with memory care," said Coffey. "They're used to a routine and they're used to their loved ones coming in multiple times a day."
Coffey said she and staff members hope participation in the vaccine program will bring residents in the center one step closer to having normal visits with their families.