As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage communities across the country along with Influenza & RSV seasonal epidemics, many seniors are understandably concerned about their safety and well-being. One way to mitigate these concerns is to consider relocating to a safe town that offers a high level of protection against the virus.
But what makes a town "safe" for seniors?
There are a few key factors to consider:
Access to healthcare: One of the most important things for seniors during a pandemic is access to healthcare. Look for towns that have hospital infrastructure, as well as a sufficient number of healthcare workers to treat patients.
Low rates of infection: Another key factor to consider is the town's infection rate. Look for towns that have successfully managed to contain the spread of the viruses, as this indicates a strong emphasis on public health measures and a lower risk of exposure for seniors.
Supportive community: The support of a close-knit community can be incredibly valuable for seniors during a difficult time like a pandemic. Look for towns that have a reputation for being welcoming and supportive of seniors, with organizations and services that cater specifically to the needs of older adults.
Access to amenities: While the pandemic has caused many businesses and amenities to shut down, it's still important for seniors to have access to the things they need to live comfortably. Look for towns that have grocery stores, pharmacies, and other essential services within easy reach.
Good air quality: Poor air quality can have serious health implications for seniors, particularly those with respiratory conditions. Look for towns that have good air quality, as this can help to reduce the risk of respiratory complications from Influenza Like Illnesses (ILI).
Now let's evaluate a number of communities across the nation where Sunrise Senior Living, an excellent nationwide operator of senior facilities, has senior homes.
This analysis is not sponsored or endorsed by Sunrise Senior Living and the communities with the senior homes are used as representative of their communities similar to any other community essentials such as grocery stores and restaurants.
Massachusetts has increasing levels of Influenza Like Illnesses (ILI) including Flu and COVID-19 though RSV is on the decline. However, the levels in Newton on the outskirts of Boston can support regular activities assuming adequate safety precautions are practiced.
D.C. area has record levels of Influenza Like Illnesses (ILI). However, the relative sparseness of the Fairfax county location helps in keeping local health risks lower allowing for regular activities with adequate safety precautions.
North Carolina and RTP are at moderately high levels of Influenza Like Illnesses (ILI) though RSV is declining making the high prevalence of Influenza and COVID-19 the primary concerns. The health risks still make indoor masking a prerequisite for regular activities.
Sunrise Senior Living (Deerfield Beach, Florida)
Miami is having a respite from all forms of persistent record levels of Influenza Like Illnesses (ILI) including Influenza and RSV. However, the high prevalence of COVID-19 still requires masking indoors for regular activities.
Out in Houston suburbs, Influenza Like Illnesses (ILI) including Influenza and RSV are on the decline after record levels in November. However, COVID-19 is on the upswing and indoor masking is still recommended given the hospitals are operating near capacity.
Arizona is experiencing a worsening situation with all Influenza Like Illnesses (ILI) including COVID-19, Influenza and RSV. But the relatively sparse community in Scottsdale helps to keep local prevalence low and support regular activities with precautions like indoor masking.
Of the locations reviewed here, Santa Monica is in the worst situation given its location inside Los Angeles and the record levels of all Influenza Like Illnesses (ILI) including COVID-19, Influenza and RSV in the surrounding community. Going above and beyond masking and vaccinations, it is advisable to avoid in-person events for now when possible.
Seattle area is experiencing record levels of Influenza Like Illnesses (ILI) including Influenza and RSV for several weeks in a row. However, COVID-19 prevalence is much lower allowing for regular activities with masking when indoors .
Ensuring Indoor Air Quality
Hubbub Sentinel provides live updated guidance on ensuring IAQ using HVAC, windows and air cleaners. During a Tripledemic surge like at present, it would be most efficient to use all available resources including DIY air cleaners aka Corsi-Rosenthal (CR) boxes that can be made with readily available materials. Follow instructions by Sri on making the CR/SAFE boxes.
By ensuring adequate IAQ, a senior living facility could also apply for and display
the Clean Indoor Air Champion badge to instill confidence among staff, residents and the community.
Sporting the Hubbub Sentinel badge on your website, email and apps also provides a real-time snapshot of health risks in a senior living facility and in the community with the recommended occupancy levels to minimize health risks.
Planning retirement and assisted living based on community health risks
One important factor to consider for retirement and assisted living is the health risks in the area where you are living or considering living. As people age, they are often more vulnerable to health problems and may require more medical care. Therefore, it is important to choose a location that has access to high-quality medical facilities and services. This can help ensure that you have access to the care you need if you become ill or experience a health emergency.
In addition to considering the availability of medical care, it is also important to consider the overall health of the community. This can include factors such as air and water quality, the prevalence of infectious diseases, and the availability of healthy food options. Living in a community with good overall health can help support your own health and well-being as you age.
Of course, every senior has different needs and priorities, so it's important to prioritize your risks and costs to find an optimal solution.
Together, a safer world
You can also check your personal health risks at My Hubbub to know how to plan your day.
And sign up for My Bub alerts to automatically be alerted to health risks.