Hebrew SeniorLife Preemptively Imposes Self-Shelter at Home on All Its Senior Living Campuses to Thwart COVID-19 Spread

Bold Step Draws Wide Support from Residents, Family Members

BOSTON – Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL), a nonprofit organization committed to improving the lives of older adults that cares for more than 3,000 seniors per day in the Boston area, took a bold, precautionary move to thwart the spread of COVID-19 this week: It has implemented a self-shelter at home directive across all of its five senior living campuses in Greater Boston. Effective immediately, all 1,700 residents on five of HSL’s campuses have been urged to self-shelter at home, and the organization has implemented significant supports and services to provide for its senior residents throughout the self-shelter at home period. The move was met with wide support from both the HSL community and local and state health officials.

HSL’s five senior living campuses are: NewBridge on the Charles, Dedham; Orchard Cove, Canton; Simon C. Fireman Community, Randolph; Center Communities of Brookline, Brookline; and Jack Satter House, Revere.

Lou Woolf, President and CEO of Hebrew SeniorLife said, “COVID-19 is already taking a heavy toll in Massachusetts, and despite vigilant efforts that started in late February to prevent the occurrence of the virus on our campuses, it has been felt deeply. Time is of the essence to self-shelter at home to protect our residents and staff from this threat. This is difficult news to deliver to our community, but we are confident it’s the right step to take in order to protect residents and employees as much as possible.”

Woolf says that the entire HSL community has rallied around its residents. Employees and volunteers deliver meals, make daily wellness calls, organize programs by phone, package and deliver groceries, sort mail, coordinate laundry, pick up essential supplies, walk dogs, and more. There was even an organized social distancing “parade” outside of the Jack Satter House with staff holding signs and offering words of encouragement to residents sequestered in their apartments.

Woolf added, “This is not something we are ‘doing’ to residents. This is a lifesaving action that we are doing with our residents, and they support.”

  • “We are so very grateful as a family to have our mom get the level of care and protection you and the entire staff have shown in this recent crisis. It is truly above and beyond expectations, but not out of line with the ongoing excellent care and service HSL has provided her and my dad, since the very start of their membership. Thank you all.” – Nancy D., Daughter of Dorothy G., Orchard Cove resident
  • “Management is imposing a series of strategies to maximize social distancing on the campus, limit the potential spread of virus internally, and effectively constrain people to their apartments or cottages. Examples of these include food delivery to our units, grocery delivery from Nosh store, mail delivery, delivery of packages left at the main desk eliminating the opportunity to shop on our own, and approaches such as closing the library and closing the pool. These tactics add complexity to our lives, but they are essential to protect us. Our management team and the entire staff, from top to bottom, here at NBOC and at HSL, are working incredibly hard to achieve these goals. The commitment at all levels is extraordinary.” - Mike R., NewBridge on the Charles resident
  • “Whatever you need, they’re doing it before you even think about it – they’re fulfilling everything. I don’t know how to bring it across – unbelievable! I keep saying that but I feel blessed. I feel so safe, everybody – every single employee from Jack Satter House and Hebrew SeniorLife. We get calls every day asking if there is anything else we need. After they’ve done everything, we get a call asking what else we need. I wish every place could have the type of people we have, they’re a Godsend!” – Paula W., Jack Satter House resident

The directive requires all residents to stay in their own apartments. During the self-shelter at home, HSL will continue to do its very best to make sure residents have everything needed to live the best life possible given the circumstances. Services during this time include trash pick-up, mail delivery and pick-up, delivery of groceries, medications, other essentials, dog-walking, and more, as described here.

Woolf continued, “Each of our campuses is beloved by the community it serves, and across our organization. We all pray for those facing COVID-19 and work to fight the virus on every level.”

HSL realizes there are many senior care organizations across the United States that are struggling with how to best protect the seniors they care for during the COVID-19 epidemic. HSL has created a “Resources for Senior Care Organizations” section of its website to share its best practices widely.

About Hebrew SeniorLife
Hebrew SeniorLife is a national senior services leader dedicated to rethinking, researching, and redefining the possibilities of aging. As New England’s largest nonprofit provider of senior health care and living communities, and the only one affiliated with Harvard Medical School, HSL cares for more than 3000 seniors a day across six campuses throughout Greater Boston. Our locations include: Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Boston and Dedham; NewBridge on the Charles, Dedham; Orchard Cove, Canton; Simon C. Fireman Community, Randolph; Center Communities of Brookline, Brookline; and Jack Satter House, Revere. Founded in 1903, HSL also conducts influential research into aging and trains more than 1,000 students in geriatric care each year. Visit https://www.hebrewseniorlife.org, follow us on Twitter @H_SeniorLife, like us on Facebook, or read our blog.