Moving Acadiana Forward: Seniors trying to get back to normal after a year of COVID-19

Moving Acadiana Forward

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The pandemic and lockdown restrictions have affected everyone’s mental health differently, but it’s our senior citizen population that took the brunt of the shut down.

Some living in assisted facility homes couldn’t see loved ones for over a year. Now with more people getting vaccinated, caregivers across Acadiana are trying to get life back to normal for those most vulnerable.

“Our seniors have really taken the brunt of this in the last year,” said Brooke Thomas of Vincent Senior Living of Lafayette. “With having to stay home, the unsureness of everything that’s going on, so we’ve really seen and felt and heard their stories. It’s been tough.”

“They are home, they aren’t socializing so they’re getting really depressed,” said Jeremy Broussard of Vincent Senior Living of Lafayette. “Having a community like this is really good for them to get out, meet others and feel normal again.”

According to the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 72% of seniors polled described a reduced quality of life as a result of the need to practice social distancing for safety.

Caregivers with Vincent Assisted Living facility say they’ve seen families struggle this year, but their hope is to help with the things in life that can be difficult for an aging family member. And they hope to provide a community to be a part of.

“A lot of them coming in, of course, they’ve been home for the last year, they are lonely,” said Thomas. “They’re having to deal with maintenance because we’ve had a few storms so it’s been very tough. So coming in here, we get to handle all of that. We handle all of the maintenance, we have meal plans set up as part of our amenities. So a lot of those things that are kind of worrisome for them we are able to take care of.”

The facility is still under construction, but they do have seniors living on site now. They are all vaccinated and caregivers say they are excited to be mingling again. Soon the facility will have over 258 units on the property.

“I think everybody just wants to feel in a community again, to be with their friends,” said Broussard. “Now that we’re getting really far with the vaccines and, you know, everything that’s kind of getting better, now is the time to get back to normal.”

“I love that we can fix things for them,” said Thomas. “They come here because it’s been a tough year, so how can we make that better. We look at what they need and then we apply that to what’s gonna make things easier for them.”

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