MASON, Ohio – As several vaccines move closer to final approval, a Mason Assisted Living Center is preparing to be among the first facilities to participate in a COVID-19 vaccine rollout program.
Central Parke Assisted Living and Memory Care in Mason has 66 beds for seniors living with memory impairment. The center has taken cautious measures to protect its residents, who are at a higher risk of serious 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 banning visits to the interior at the start of the pandemic, the center has since allowed family members to visit loved ones, provided they follow social distancing guidelines and other safety protocols . Staff strive to be creative in their efforts to help residents have fun, but there are still many challenges ahead.
“Right now, family members of our residents are not allowed to kiss their loved ones,” Coffey said. “They can’t hold hands.”
The steps are to ensure the safety of the elderly in the facility, until a vaccine is approved for distribution. If so, Central Parke will be one of the first communities of older people living locally to receive it. The center is already enrolled in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national immunization program, and when a vaccine is available, residents and staff at the facility will be able to obtain it for free.
“Social interaction and contact are very important for our seniors who support memory,” Coffey said. “They are used to a routine and they are used to having loved ones come several times a day.”
Coffey said she and staff members hope that participation in the immunization program will bring residents at the center closer to normal visiting with their families.