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Guidelines for senior care centers starting to reopen, amid COVID-19 closures

Officials with the Department of Aging have released new guidelines on reopening senior care facilities in green phase counties.

YORK COUNTY, Pa. — Many families are anxious to be able to see their loved ones again, but senior centers are home to some of the most vulnerable. 

Senior community centers are now starting to receive guidance on how to safely reopen their facilities in green phase counties, and allow for in-person visits. 

Officials with the Department of Aging said the reopening process is going to be done gradually, and isn't a one size fits all approach. 

Each senior care center will make the call on resuming traditional operations as they see fit. 

New policies according to the Department of Aging include-- social distancing, sanitation practices, the number of participants attending at any one time, changes in programming, and communication of the new rules to participants. 

Senior care centers will also be required to conduct routine health screenings. According to Department of Aging officials, a new tool will soon be available to help with the screenings. 

Each facility must also have a meal service policy in place to allow for social distancing. They encourage centers to keep in mind seniors may have ongoing concerns or fears regarding the pandemic and new changes. 

Regarding in person visits, some facilities may choose to resume them sooner than others. According to The Department of Aging, it will all depend on the square footage of senior centers, so they have enough space to keep up with social distancing guidelines. 

Elmcroft, a senior living facility in York County has been releasing updates regarding their reopening plans on their website. They said they know families are anxious, and they are too. They are asking for everyones patience during the reopening process. 

They are remaining cautious and will be implementing three stages of reopening safely. Each stage has certain criteria, and protocols in place. However, Elmcroft said the phases are subject to change based on evolving county and state regulations. 

Their phases include-- restricting, recovering, and revitalizing. 

The stage with the most flexibility is the revitalizing stage, where visits are allowed and group activities can resume. Limited visits are allowed in the recovering phase of Elmcroft's plan. You can find more information about the three stages here

The Department of Aging has more guidelines and reopening information for senior care facilities on their website

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