Senior Living Communities have been devastated as the COVID-19 pandemic has raged through their residences. Tabor Home, like many others, struggled with outbreaks of COVID-19 over the last few months and have unfortunately lost residents to the deadly disease. There is so much negativity surrounding senior living communities and the pandemic, however Dan Levitt, Chief Executive Officer at Tabor Home stresses the importance of shifting the narrative and especially honoring the very real and valuable lives that were lost. Levitt and his team have created a tribute to the residents that passed away from COVID-19 in order to celebrate, mourn, and pay respect to their residents, loved ones, and friends.
The losses that Tabor Home suffered was tragic for families, residents, and staff. “The whole community was impacted,” Levitt says, “we wanted to honor and celebrate the lives lost. We wanted to show that people in senior living communities are lives that mattered.” Tabor Home created a memory tree, featuring dove ornaments, and photos of those loved ones lost. Evergreen trees are symbols of life, renewal, and hope for seasons ahead. By making this memorial a permanent fixture in the community, it will allow staff, residents, and families to honor, celebrate, and grieve the residents who lost their lives to COVID-19.
As of last week, Tabor has vaccinated over 350 people in their community. They are grateful and hopeful that the vaccine will eliminate the potential of any more COVID-19 losses. Though Tabor and many other senior living communities appear to be out of the woods and moving into the light at the end of the tunnel, Levitt stresses that the lives Tabor and all communities have lost are not just a number, but real people. “When people under 65 die, it’s a tragedy, but when a senior passes away, we often hear ‘they lived a good life’, but every life lost in senior living, especially from COVID-19, is like losing a family member.”
The past few months have been especially difficult for residents and staff in senior living, and Tabor is no different, which is why aside from the tribute memorial, they have counseling services available to everyone. Levitt say their team focused on increasing communication and advocating for different ways to get help. Tabor has an employee and family assistance programs and there are on site counselors for anyone who needs them. During a time of so much loss, Levitt believes enhancing quality of life is extremely important. “Long-term care is about care, but what about quality of care, what about making people want to get out of bed? We have to create an environment that makes life worth living.”
It is easy to look past the large number of senior living residents that have lost their battles to COVID-19, but the goal of Tabor’s memorial is to remind people that each life lost was someone’s spouse, parent, teacher, barber, “someone that mattered to other people,” says Levitt. In addition to their tree of remembrance, Tabor has also created a tribute video to further honor the residents they lost to COVID-19. Levitt says, “there are so many people in this world, it is easy to feel like a number, when you put names, faces, and stories to those residents lost, it makes it more real.”