There is something about times of crisis that brings out our inner child. Some moments speak directly to our childhood selves, forcing us to dig deep and find the parts of us that first experienced fear, like our first encounter with thunder and lightning, from beneath a blanket huddled up with our siblings. At some point, our family was all we had to help us face the storm, and now, well into our lives, it seems not much has changed. In those moments we are still holding tight to those closest to us, our families.
When Hurricane Ian hit, depending on where you were in the country, you either had a very normal day, or you had the sort of day rocked by devastation. Discovery Senior Living is a big network, with many communities spanning across the US. Some of our communities were well beyond the range of the storm and some were hit pretty hard, namely Tampa Bay AL/MC, Sarasota IL, and Sarasota AL/MC. But no matter how far we may be from one another, we are family, and what happens to part of the family, very much happens to all of us. Though not all of our communities were hit by the storm, the entire network felt it and took responsibility for making sure that everyone was safe. As a network we banded together and did as families do, we extended a hand to wherever needed one, we showed up for whoever called on us, and we assisted in any way we could.
One of the more challenging tasks during the storm was evacuating our memory care residents from Discovery Village At Sarasota Bay. For memory care patients, maintaining a sense of calm, a sense of normalcy, as well as retaining the routines they are used to, is a vital part of their care. Moving the patients from one community to another, without careful preparation, would have proved to be a turbulent interruption of the care they have been receiving thus far. We had to successfully evacuate 21 memory care patients, and one assisted living resident who was the spouse of one of our memory care patients, from Sarasota to our sister community in Mariposa – six hours away.
Residents upon arriving in Mariposa were housed in individual apartments, not a common space. This decision made it so that their new accommodations closely mirrored their Sarasota Bay apartments. The team at Mariposa maintained the normal routine that included dining as well as SHINE programmed activities, a full schedule that started at 8am and ended at 9pm that night. Every single resident was given an arm band, labeled with their name and key contact information and all of their luggage was clearly labeled so nothing was lost or mingled during transport. Key information regarding the residents’ life stories and care specifications were shared with the host community team, so that there would be no interruption in the quality of care provided in this transitional period. The careful team members at Discovery were threading the needle every step of the way, for each and every resident. From the carefully curated and expertly executed plan, it was hard to tell that there was even a storm happening beyond the community walls.
These evacuations are a part of Discovery’s success story when it comes to how we, as a network, dealt with the storm. The selfless acts of our team members during the storm, combined with the administrative excellence and communication strategies put in place in preparation for the storm, played an important part as well. The two communities communicated thoroughly, curating every detail, and exchanged key information to ensure that this transition was seamless. No matter the storm, no matter the distance, no matter the details, we are a family, and we will show up as we always have.