Sioux Falls senior living facilities allowing visitors

Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 11:43 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -It's been a tough couple of months at senior living centers during this pandemic as visitations were canceled in an effort to keep vulnerable populations safe. But now some facilities are allowing seniors to see their loved ones in person again.

Facilities like Grand Living at Lake Lorraine and Good Samaritan Society-Sioux Falls Village are now offering outdoor visits. They got the green light from the South Dakota Department of Health, as long as they follow CDC guidelines.

Grand Living at Lake Lorraine began offering visitations in June. Staff call them “safe visits,” which last 45 minutes.

“Everyone is screened. They wear masks, temps are taken, questions are asked, seats are sanitized and fun is had,” said Jane Gullickson, Executive Director of Grand Living at Lake Lorraine.

It's something the residents can now look forward to.

“Oh, it’s so nice. Yes, I think that’s a great idea,” said resident Dory Nyberg.

“It’s been a huge success. We have 25 visits a day 7 days a week, a lot of times,” said Gullickson.

Good Samaritan Society-Sioux Falls Village started offering outdoor visitation Monday, July 6.

“To see the faces and just the reactions of both families and the residents and just the joy and the little bit of tears, but happy tears to be able to be reconnected together,” said Alecia O’Neill, Administrator for the Sioux Falls Village.

They allow 30-minute visits with up to two visitors at a time. Similarly to Grand Living At Lake Lorraine, they screen visitors and require masks.

“Using hand sanitizer and then we’re disinfecting everything in between the visits as well,” said O’Neill.

While it's fun to get visitors, staff say their number one priority is still safety.

“We really stress to the families we need them to partner with us to make sure they’re safe, their loved ones are safe, our employees are safe, so we can continue with our reopening phase,” said O’Neill.

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