The Square
News and perspectives from Covia.

A 3rd generation San Franciscan, Carol DeVincenzi was hoping to stay in her home for as long as possible, but knew that when the time came for her next move, she would choose a non-profit Life Plan Community in the city that she had called home for most of her life. When she started looking and found San Francisco Towers, she knew it was the place for her. “It has the most amenities like air conditioning and ample elevators, and has such beautifully designed apartments,” Carol says.

Carol had friends who had set up charitable gift annuities, and they were very pleased with both the income and the impact of the tax deduction. She says, “With the current rates, I thought this would be a good source of income and an opportunity to support the Circle of Friends Resident Assistance Fund.”

Carol had always felt the call to help those in need, especially older people who could no longer support themselves. She remembers, “When my mother was in an Assisted Living community near the end of her life, I remember other residents that had to leave because they had run out of money. I remember feeling so terrible about it and wishing there was something I could do to help. Donating to the Circle of Friends gives me a chance to help.”

Charitable Gift Annuity: The Gift That Gives Back

A Charitable Gift Annuity can provide stable income in unstable times — and provide a legacy of support for your community or favorite program. It’s a gift that pays you back.

You can establish a Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) with the Covia Foundation with cash or stock and create fixed, stable income for your lifetime. Because the payment rate is fixed based on your age, your income never changes. As an example, the payment rate for someone aged 81 is 6.7%. Plus, a portion of your income payment could be tax free. If you establish a gift annuity with stock you’ve held for a number of years, you can bypass the capital gains tax you would owe if you simply sold the stock. Ultimately, the remainder in your CGA will benefit the community or program you designate.

For information or assistance on establishing a CGA, contact Katharine Miller, Covia Foundation Executive Director, at 925.956.7414 or kmiller@covia.org

*This article was originally posted in the Fall 2020 edition of Community Matters 

As Covia communities and programs navigate the rapidly changing conditions and restrictions this year, we are grateful that we have resilient residents, participants, staff, and leadership that keep our communities moving forward. Challenging circumstances have brought people from across the organization together in new ways, encouraging teamwork and a sense that we truly are all in this together.

The Life Enrichment Directors across Covia Communities have been meeting monthly to share their upcoming plans and find ways to collaborate and share their virtual activities with residents of other communities. Alex Gerasimov, Covia’s Project Manager for resident experience, says, “In this time, our Life Enrichment teams united to support one another and to learn about each other’s best practices on keeping residents and staff engaged and involved in meaningful programs that enhance their health and wellness.”

Residents of Canterbury Woods and Webster House meet together on Zoom for weekly lectures and discussion groups on current events and world travel. Ania Spiering, Life Enrichment Director at Webster House, shares, “Both programs engage residents in conversation, which keeps it lively and interesting. It is wonderful to see people coming together and utilizing the possibilities that technology provides.” The two communities also share musical programs with each other. Every week, a Canterbury Woods resident shares a recorded concert, and in return, Lily Godsoe, the Webster House chaplain, offers a flute and meditation session.

Other communities have taken advantage of the virtual space to invite residents from all communities to join their ongoing events, creating more enrichment opportunities.  St. Paul’s Towers invited residents of the other Covia communities to join its sponsored webinar about water issues facing Northern California, offered as part of the UC Retiree Learning Series.  San Francisco Towers is also opening up its weekly lecture series to all communities. In September, the guest lecturer was Dr. Tammy Duong on dealing with loneliness and depression during the isolation of the pandemic. Spring Lake Village, known for its award-winning active wellness and fitness programs, shared all of its fitness videos with the other Covia communities so all residents can stay active in the comfort of their homes.

*This article was originally posted in the Fall 2020 edition of Community Matters

When Mia Lang first started looking at Life Plan Communities, she knew it was just exploration, and she wasn’t ready to make a transition. After all, she had a full life with friends and social activities and still worked part time as a hemodialysis nurse at UCSF at age 78 after retiring from a full time nursing career at the UCSF Medical Center at age 60. And then she looked at Spring Lake Village.

“As soon as I visited Spring Lake Village, I knew that was it,” she said. “I could not have chosen a better place to spend this chapter of my life. Living here is fulfilling, it’s community, there is nothing lacking. We all go through whatever we’re facing together; there’s so much support.”

Her childhood was marked by the war years on the border between the former Czechoslovakia and Austria. After fleeing to a refugee camp in Austria, her family moved to Germany as the war ended. She went into nursing because “you chose something that was practical that you could make a living at” and set out to travel the world. She worked as a nurse in Germany, Switzerland, England, and, eventually, the United States.

An interesting community with a wide variety of people has always been of interest to her. “When I first came to New York, I found an apartment in what was then Spanish Harlem,” she said. “It was only $60 a month but I loved the variety of cultures. I was so curious because I came from a background where everyone was the same.”

She was eventually drawn to the Bay Area because of her love of San Francisco, its variety of cultures, and its proximity to nature. The natural surroundings of Sonoma County and the regional parks were part of what drew her to Spring Lake Village.

“The people at Spring Lake Village are a real community,” she says. “My friends from the Bay Area who visit are very impressed and envy me for the quality of my life here. There are pockets of friendship here for so many different interests and activities — and people are warm and welcoming.”

It is that sense of community that was at the heart of Mia’s recent decision to update her estate plan and leave a gift to the Covia Foundation. “My nieces and nephews are all doing fine, and I’ve loved living at Spring Lake Village,” she reflected. “I want to leave my estate to the Covia Foundation to benefit this wonderful community.”

So after a lifetime of caring for others in nursing, Mia’s legacy gift will be able to continue caring for the community of people that makes Spring Lake Village such a special place.

For information on making a legacy gift in your will or estate plans, contact Katharine Miller, Covia Foundation Executive Director, at kmiller@covia.org or 925.956.7414

Covia Foundation Heritage Society

The Covia Foundation Honor Roll of Giving at each Life Plan Community celebrates those who support Covia communities and programs with charitable gifts. The Heritage Society section of the Honor Roll celebrates those who plan a legacy gift by including the Foundation in their planned gifts, estate plans or wills.

If you have made such a provision, please let us know so that we may add your name to the Heritage Society of the Covia Foundation Honor Roll. Contact Julie Hoerl, Covia Foundation Development Manager, at jhoerl@covia.org or 925.956.7393.

*This article was originally posted in the Fall 2020 edition of Community Matters

Residents from St. Paul’s Towers, San Francisco Towers, and Spring Lake Village gathered with the Covia Foundation in August via Zoom to celebrate and raise awareness for the Circle of Friends Resident Assistance Fund. With hors d’oeuvres and special beverages sponsored by Morrison Community Living, friends and neighbors raised a glass to their vibrant communities and the supporters of this important cause. Mary Sharman, a resident at St. Paul’s Towers, says, “The party and delicious treats were an uplifting event. I’m pleased so many residents could join our party and learn about this important fund. I am grateful that our community supports this cause.”

Those being helped by the Circle of Friends fund have an average age of over 90 years, with 40% living with a higher level of care. They have been part of their communities on average for more than 16 years.

“The Circle of Friends is so close to the hearts of our residents,” said Covia Foundation Executive Director Katharine Miller. “We are so grateful for the support of this fund that provides assistance for those in our Life Plan Communities who outlive their resources.”

Covia Foundation rounded out the day’s celebration with a prize drawing. Prizes included personalized dinners from the Executive Chefs, themed gift baskets, and a Google Nest Max Hub, a video smart speaker.

The event immediately showed the effect of its success, with our prize winners reaching out with excitement and gratitude, and many residents making donations online or reaching out to the Foundation with questions about planned gifts and estate gifts. Said one supporter: “This is a great cause for us to get behind because this could happen to any of us.”

*This article was originally posted in the Fall 2020 edition of Community Matters

When the St. Paul’s Towers Resident Council met at the beginning of 2020, Council President Laura Galvin presented the idea of developing resident liaisons to promote connection across different levels of care within the community. This idea kicked off the creation of the Three Levels of Care (TLC) program, which seeks to create well-meaning relationships, increase socialization, and decrease isolation by connecting residents in Independent and Assisted Living.

SPT resident Irene Olson realized that as an Independent Living (IL) resident she didn’t know a great deal about Assisted Living (AL). She found herself asking, “What happens when we move to Assisted Living one day?” Olson was inspired to get involved, developing initiatives such as shared lunches and apartment visits so that IL residents could create lasting relationships with residents in AL.

“TLC is a way to break down silos between the continuum and live together as equals,” notes Connie Yuen, St. Paul’s Towers Assistant Health Care Administrator. “I am so proud of Ms. Olson and the residents who set up such a fantastic program that focuses on inclusion and community building.”

The TLC program is currently paused while sheltering in place but Olson is excited to continue growing the program once shelter in place is done. There are discussions about making the TLC program a permanent committee at St. Paul’s and after working on connecting IL and AL residents, the plan is to “expand to SNF (skilled nursing),” says Olson.

The TLC program shows great promise. Resident volunteers partnered with the Assisted Living Activities Coordinator to get more AL residents involved in community events and to develop relationships one on one.  These volunteers, including Olson, help bring AL residents to dinner, happy hour, concerts, classes, and activities. They even developed a wheelchair brigade, which Olson says was created “to increase participation and socialization.”

Resident volunteers work hard to make sure that the experience is not only fun but also meaningful. Volunteers check in with AL residents, asking what would make the experience meaningful for them and tailoring the program to their needs.  

For Joe, one of the AL residents that Olson worked with at the TLC program’s inception, the focus was on maintaining old friendships and getting to know new residents. Olson set out to make this happen for Joe by bringing him to the main dining room for meals and art classes to see his friends. All of this work helped them “develop such a strong bond over a short time,” notes Olson.

Though the TLC program is currently only at St. Paul’s Towers, Olson hopes that it will inspire “all Covia communities to get more involved at the AL level.” She notes, “It’s so easy to spend time with the resident in their room, play a game together, and find out what they need and how we can achieve something meaningful together. TLC is so easy at SPT. Everything is an elevator ride away so go see someone who is looking forward to spending time with you.”

Spring Lake Village: If you have questions or would like to update us on your whereabouts, please call 707-538-8400 or contact us at info@covia.org.  

Wednesday, October 21 10:20 am

CalFire reports that the Glass Fire is 100% contained as of 11:00 am Tuesday, October 20th. All of us send our deepest gratitude to our first responders for everything they have done to protect Spring Lake Village, Friends House, and the greater Sonoma and Napa County community during this fire. 

Monday, October 19 11:00 am

We are happy to report that our Skilled Nursing Facility was granted approval by the State to reopen and residents will be returning throughout this week. 

Other than our SNF residents and residents already on our list for an extended absence, all Spring Lake Village residents have returned.  

Thank you to everyone who helped our residents stay safe throughout the evacuation. 

Thursday, October 15 9:20 am

The recording of yesterday’s Zoom update is available here, and the Q & A document is here. Unless something changes significantly, this is the final SLV update Zoom call related to the evacuation. Michael will resume regular written updates starting today and weekly resident meetings next Wednesday, October 20.  We will provide updates to this webpage only when there are significant changes or items to report. 

Thank you to everyone who helped us get through this evacuation.

Wednesday, October 14 5:25 pm

Residents are continuing to return to Spring Lake Village and getting tested upon arrival. So far, all tests have come back negative.

Independent Living residents who have yet to return may come back between 8:00 – 4:30 tomorrow or Friday. Please pull into the main parking lot as directed and wait to get tested before returning to your residence. If you have any questions or concerns about arrival times, or need to make arrangements to return at another time, please call 707-538-8400.

There will be a survey of our Skilled Nursing Facility conducted by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) on Friday. If we pass the survey, Spring Lake Village will be able to start bringing back Skilled Nursing residents on Monday of next week. 

The recording and Q & A of today’s update will be posted in the morning. 

Tuesday, October 13 5:00 pm

Our next Spring Lake Village Community Update will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, October 14 at 3:00. Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://esc.zoom.us/j/92133574393

To join by telephone, call 669-900-6833 or 855-880-1246 (Toll Free), and enter the Webinar ID: 921 3357 4393 (International numbers are available: https://esc.zoom.us/u/aZjRUUGlV).

Tuesday, October 13 9:15 am

Residents continue to return today. Residents from East Side Cottages 10 – 44 and East Side Buildings A – F are asked to arrive between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm and report to the parking lot at the main entrance. From there, you will be directed where to park and will be given a COVID-19 test before returning to your home. There will be assistance if you need help with transporting your items. It is important that you arrive during these scheduled hours since these are the times when staff is available to do the testing. All residents must get tested before returning to your cottage or apartment. 

Residents from the Arbol Community will be returning this afternoon. Tomorrow, residents from West Side Cottages 50 – 101 and West Side Buildings G – P are invited to return between 9:00 am – 1:00 pm and follow the procedures outlined above. 

The full return schedule is posted here. Residents in Skilled Nursing will return once Spring Lake Village has received approval from the Department of Social Services and OSHPD, most likely beginning to return next week. 

If you cannot return at your scheduled time, you must contact Connie Nelson at Spring Lake Village and set up a scheduled time to return so that staff will be ready and available to test you upon arrival. Thank you for your cooperation!

The Q & A from yesterday’s Zoom update is here. The recording is here. There will be another Zoom update tomorrow at 3:00, which will likely be the final video update related to this incident. Starting tomorrow, Executive Director Michael Cataldo will resume his regular daily memos. Weekly resident meetings will resume next week. 

Monday, October 12 5:10 pm

The recording of today’s Zoom update is now available to watch here. Our next Zoom update will take place this Wednesday at 3:00. More information will be posted tomorrow.

Monday, October 12 11:15 am

We will be having a Spring Lake Village Community Update today at 3:00 by Zoom. Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://esc.zoom.us/j/92533464802

Or call in to 669-900-6833 or 877-369-0926 (Toll Free) and enter the Webinar ID: 925 3346 4802 (International numbers  are also available: https://esc.zoom.us/u/acTc7ThZhh).

Residents are beginning to return to Spring Lake Village, according to the Evacuation Return Schedule, available here. Today, residents who have been staying at the Residence Inn Sacramento Downtown will be returning. Tomorrow, residents who live in East Side Cottages 10-44 and buildings A-F are welcome to return between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. We are so glad to welcome you back home!

Friday, October 9 4:00pm

The Spring Lake Village return schedule can be found here. For any questions about the return schedule, please call 707-538-8400 or contact us at info@covia.org

Friday, October 9 8:45 am

There will be a Zoom community update for Spring Lake Village today at 3:00. Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://esc.zoom.us/j/91988294649

To connect by telephone, dial 669 900 6833  or 877 369 0926 (Toll Free)

Webinar ID: 919 8829 4649

    International numbers available: https://esc.zoom.us/u/abVw1YyEaL

Thursday, October 8 9:10 am

The video recording of yesterday’s update is now available. You can watch it here. The next Zoom video update will take place tomorrow, October 9 at 3:00. The link will be posted by the end of the day today.

As of 7:30 this morning, CalFire reports that the Glass Fire is 66% contained. “Crews experienced minimal fire behavior throughout the night. These conditions consisted of creeping and smoldering within the current fire perimeter.” The full update is available here.

The City of Santa Rosa has posted information to inform city residents that the water quality was not impacted by the Glass Fire. They report, “Ongoing testing and monitoring of Santa Rosa’s drinking water confirms that our community’s water system meets all safe drinking water standards.” Read the full statement here

Wednesday, October 7 5:10 pm

The Q & A from this afternoon’s Spring Lake Village Community Update is now available for download here. The video will be available tomorrow. Our next update will take place on Friday, October 9 at 3:00 pm. 

We do not yet have a reopening date when residents can return to Spring Lake Village, though we hope residents may start to be able to return sometime next week. Before residents can return, we need permission and guidance from state regulatory and public health agencies. We expect detailed guidance from the Department of Public Health this week. We will plan a staged reopening so everyone doesn’t arrive at once. Please stay safe where you are and we will let you know more as soon as we know more. 

If you do move to another location, or need essential items from your apartment, please let us know at info@covia.org or 707-538-8400. If you would like to move to the Residence Inn Sacramento Downtown, where SLV staff are able to provide support, please contact Chris Ichien at cichien@covia.org.  

In preparation for residents’ return, staff and vendor partners are cleaning the Spring Lake Village campus. Duct cleaning  began today and should be completed tomorrow. Environmental Services is continuing to clean and replace linens and remove spoiled food from refrigerators. 

The Santa Rosa Postmaster has informed us that mail will be delivered to the campus starting next Monday, October 12. UPS and FedEx parcels are currently being delivered and stored in a secure location. 

During the remainder of the evacuation, Stephen Eik, Spring Lake Village’s IT Tech, will be offering remote Tech Help for SLV residents from 9-1, Monday-Friday. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call Stephen at 707-318-4524, and leave a voicemail with your name, phone number, and tech issue for which you would like help.

Tuesday, October 6 4:10 pm

Our next Spring Lake Village Update will take place tomorrow at 3:00 pm. Residents, family members, friends and others are welcome to attend. Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://esc.zoom.us/j/93873619087

Or join by telephone at 669-900-6833  or 877-369-0926 (Toll Free), then enter Webinar ID: 938 7361 9087 (International numbers available: https://esc.zoom.us/u/ah9We5WMS).

Tuesday, October 6 1:10 pm

Although there is no new update on when the Spring Lake Village campus will be reopening for residents, staff are currently cleaning common areas as well as laundering linens and removing spoiled food from refrigerators in preparation for residents’ eventual return.

In addition, a team is working on a plan that will allow residents to return safely and prevent the possible spread of COVID-19. At this point, we do not have any active cases of COVID-19 among our dispersed residents. However, due to possible exposure during the evacuation, we will be putting precautions in place when residents return. 

The questions and answers from yesterday’s video update are now available for download here. Our next update will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, October 7 at 3:00 pm. We will post the link by the end of the day today.

Well Connected, a Covia Community Services program that helps seniors throughout the United States stay connected by phone or Zoom, has set up a special group for Spring Lake Village residents to help you stay connected. Weekdays from 10:00 to 11:00 am, SLV residents are invited to check in with each other by phone. Please download this flyer to get the details on how to join. And thank you to the Well Connected team for setting this up. 

Monday, October 5 5:30 pm

The most recent Spring Lake Village update is now available to view online here. Our next video update will take place on Wednesday, October 7 at 3:00 pm. 

At this time, there is still no reopening date for the Spring Lake Village community, though we anticipate it will be at least another week. The neighborhood remains under an evacuation warning, and Melita Road is closed at Highway 12. SLV’s community leadership is in contact with state and local departments of health and Social Services to determine when residents might be able to return. In the meantime, residents may still contact the community at 707-538-8400 or info@covia.org if you need items from your apartment or wish to update us on your current whereabouts. 

Kevin Gerber, Covia’s President and CEO was able to visit the campus today and reports that the staff has done great work in cleaning the campus. Maintenance and Environmental Services staff are clearing out dairy and deli items in refrigerators, laundering sheets and linens throughout the community, and changing filters in the HVAC systems, among other clean-up tasks.

CalFire reports that the Glass Fire is 30% contained at of 3:30 this afternoon. 

Sunday, October 4 8:30 am

As of this morning, the Glass Fire is 17% contained. CalFire reports “The Glass Fire continues to actively burn across Napa and Sonoma Counties due to windy conditions, with slope and topographic driven runs. Critically low fuel moisture, very warm and dry weather conditions are contributing to very active fire behavior. Aggressive mop up and tactical patrol continues in areas where the fire’s forward progress has stopped. Crews are working aggressively to construct and reinforce existing control lines. As people start returning home, be vigilant that emergency crews are still working in the area.”

Spring Lake Village remains in an evacuation warning stage. If you would like to retrieve important items from your apartment, please email info@covia.org and let us know the item and where it is located. A team member will retrieve it for you and arrange to have it at the security check in for you to collect. 

The next Spring Lake Village video update will take place tomorrow, Monday, October 5 at 3:00 pm. Executive Director Michael Cataldo and others will be available to share information and answer your questions.  Here is the link to join the webinar. 

Congressman Mike Thompson announced to Sonoma County Residents, “If you were impacted by the Glass Fire, the county is opening a Local Assistance Center on Monday, Oct 5 at Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa. It will be open on Monday from 1-7pm and then Tuesday, Oct 6 through Saturday, Oct 10 from 10am to 7pm.” More information on the Local Assistance Center and the services available can be found here

Friday, October 2 5:45 pm

The recording of this afternoon’s Spring Lake Village update is available here. A downloadable copy of the questions and answers is here

We know that people’s primary question is likely to be, “When can we return to our homes?” Unfortunately, we cannot provide any sort of definitive answer to that question. It all depends upon what happens with the fire, how long it will take to clean the campus, what our regulatory agencies require of us, and more. When we last went through this evacuation process, it was a full two weeks before residents were able to return to Spring Lake Village, and there was less clean up for the campus. We advise you to find a place where you can be comfortable for at least that long. 

We will be available to respond to phone calls and emails this weekend. We hope you get some rest, wherever you may be. 

Friday, October 2 8:00 am

As a reminder, there will be a community update for Spring Lake Village by Zoom today at 3:00 pm. Click here to join the webinar.  You can also call in at 669-900-6833, then enter the Webinar ID: 910 8936 7411.

Due to the Red Flag Warning being extended through Sunday morning, Friends House has unfortunately had to postpone its plans for residents to return to the campus. Executive Director Clara Allen has shared a letter to the community explaining the decision.  She writes,

Although we’re not together physically, we’re in community spiritually.  As a community, we care about each other’s safety, health, happiness and wellbeing. The Quaker value of Gentle Bravery comes to mind. The world is calling upon us to be nimble and flexible.  This year has brought unfathomable changes and challenges to all of our lives. I’m struck by the compassionate ways in which our community meets those challenges.  Hopefully, it won’t be long before the evacuation order is downgraded, once again and you’ll be on your way back home.  I’m holding you in the light.     

You can read the full letter here

Thursday, October 1 6:30 pm

Our next Zoom update for Spring Lake Village will take place tomorrow, Friday, October 2, at 3:00 pm. Please click the link  to join the webinar: https://esc.zoom.us/j/91089367411

All Spring Lake Village residents have now left the Petaluma Community Center and all other emergency shelters and are in an appropriate, settled location. 

The team at Spring Lake Village report that the smoke smell makes it impossible for  most employees to return to campus. Air scrubbing began yesterday and the maintenance team is making arrangements with a contractor to provide cleaning services, but for the moment, no one can return to campus.

A memo for Spring Lake Village employees has been posted on ADP, our HR information system. Please log in at my.adp.com to read and acknowledge receipt of this letter, which contains resources for your support as well as information on reporting for work during this emergency. 

Residents who need essential items from their apartments, such as medical equipment, should contact your community. We will make arrangements to deliver essential health and safety items to you. 

Thursday, October 1 8:30 am

The recording of yesterday’s Spring Lake Village update is now available here

Friends House Executive Director Clara Allen has posted information about plans for residents to return to the campus, tentatively this Friday at 10:00 am. More information is available in her letter, posted on the Friends House site here

Wednesday, September 30 5:15 pm

Over 300 people attended the Zoom call today for an update on Spring Lake Village. Thank you to everyone who attended for your questions and comments. We will share the link to the video once it becomes available. A summary of the questions and answers is here. Our next update will take place on Friday, October 2 at 3:00 pm. 

Although at this time, our communities are not in danger from the Glass Fire, the National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the North Bay Mountains starting from 1 PM Thursday (10/1) to 6 PM Friday (10/2) due for breezy northerly winds and critically dry conditions. Residents should not return to the community for any reason at this time. If you need items from your home, please contact your community to request that a staff member retrieve the item for you. 

If the fires remain at bay, Friends House has received permission to plan for residents’ return, possibly as early as this Friday, October 2. Executive Director Clara Allen will be sharing details on this plan on the Friends House website

As of yet, Spring Lake Village has received no indication from DSS about a potential return date. The Facilities team has returned to campus and air scrubbers will be employed tomorrow to clear some of the smoke and ash.

We are still working to find placements for some of our Assisted Living residents, due to restrictions on emergency transfers because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Assisted Living residents who are still in an emergency shelter are being provided 24 hour care by Covia staff. We anticipate that all will be placed in a more settled environment no later than tomorrow,  possibly as soon as this evening. 

Wednesday, September 30 8:25 am

Due to the smoke damage and ash, Spring Lake Village is unable to reopen, even though the evacuation order for the Spring Lake neighborhood has been lifted. We invite SLV residents, family members, and others to join the Zoom call today at 1:30 for further information. Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://esc.zoom.us/j/96397542949.

Tuesday, September 29 5:20 pm

Spring Lake Village Executive Director will be holding a Community Update by Zoom tomorrow, Wednesday, September 30th at 1:30 pm. Residents, family members, staff, and others are welcome to attend. We are also working on streaming this live on Facebook, but will record and share if the livestream does not work. Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://esc.zoom.us/j/96397542949.

Spring Lake Village residents are also reminded that you can log into the SLV Resident Website to share news with your friends and neighbors about your whereabouts and how you are doing. Look under the News Discussion Forum for the evacuation discussion thread.

All Friends House residents have been transferred to other locations where they are receiving ongoing support. The Spring Lake Village staff has been working to find placements for the last 30 residents still in evacuation centers, most of them currently located  in Petaluma where staff are providing support and activities.

The SLV Wellness Team and the FH Director of Marketing Paula Wright are making phone calls to Independent Living residents  who self-evacuated to verify their location and to check in their needs. If you have an immediate concern, SLV residents are invited to call 707-538-8400. Friends House residents are welcome to call Paula at (707) 537-5927, or  email pwright@friendshouse.org

Additional staff are reporting to the Residence Inn in Sacrament to provide support for the residents living on site. Tomorrow, supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) will be delivered. Residents are reminded to continue to follow COVID-19 safety precautions: wear your mask, maintain at least 6 feet of distance if at all possible. If you notice any symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, or fever, please isolate yourself and inform your Director of Health Services immediately. 

The Friends House and Spring Lake Village campuses remain closed, and will likely remain closed for some time. Dennis McLean, Spring Lake Village Facilities Director, reports that there is significantly more smoke damage than 2017, due to the fires getting so close to the campus. Both campuses are covered in ash and will need significantly cleaning. However, neither community has sustained any fire damage. 

Tuesday, September 29 8:00 am

More than 75 residents are now staying at the Residence Inn Downtown Sacramento, with more expected to arrive today along with additional staff to support them.  

One of the Skilled Nursing Facilities that offered to accommodate some of our residents did not receive permission from our regulatory agencies to begin admission until late last night, delaying their transfer. We are in the process of making arrangements for transportation, and all Skilled Nursing residents should be in their planned emergency location by noon today. 

We have been and will continue to notify emergency contacts directly about the status of each resident. 

We are also working on setting up informational meetings by Zoom for residents and other interested persons, probably starting tomorrow. We will let you know the details when they become available. 

Monday, September 28 5:00 pm

We have set up the main phone number for Spring Lake Village to forward to someone off-campus. If you have questions or would like to update us on your whereabouts, please call 707-538-8400.

We encourage all residents to collect receipts for meals, housing, toiletries, and other necessary items purchased as a result of the evacuation, which may be included in an eventual insurance claim. Employees should track any expenses related to work, such as travel to other locations. 

Employees on site at Spring Lake Village drove around and surveyed the area. They report that there is no fire activity in the East Grove or near the campus. There is evidence of spot fires in Spring Lake Park, but they appear to have been long since extinguished. There are no emergency vehicles in the neighborhood. Fire activity is very visible in the surrounding hills, but seems to have moved away from the community.

That being said, DO NOT attempt to return to the campus for any reason at this time. Fire and other emergency crews need to be able to focus their attention on fighting the fires. Thank you for your cooperation. 

Along with all of our residents, some of our team members have been evacuated from their homes as well. Our Human Resources department will reach out via text to all SLV employees to check on their well-being and let them know how to access information and resources.

Stay safe, and we hope everyone gets some rest this evening. 

Monday, September 28 noon

Spring Lake Village staff are finalizing arrangements for residents in Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing to be transferred to locations where they can receive appropriate care during this emergency. We will notify emergency contacts directly as soon as these arrangements are finalized.

We are also making arrangements with a hotel in Sacramento to provide rooms for SLV and Friends House residents who do not need additional care. Currently, 36 residents have checked in; we anticipate 20-30 new rooms to be available today, and more to come. Please contact info@covia.org if you plan to use this housing option. 

At this time, the fire has spread to Spring Lake Park, but is not on the Spring Lake Campus itself.

The security team is still located at the Spring Lake Village campus. Employees who provide direct care to residents should ask their supervisors where to report to work. No employees, aside from the security team, should come to the Spring Lake Village campus. If you have further questions about your work duties, please contact your direct supervisor. 

Monday, September 28 7:00 am

All residents have been evacuated from Spring Lake Village and from Friends House, another community in Santa Rosa that has a management contract with Covia. SLV’s Executive Director Michael Cataldo and security staff are still on site. 

Our Skilled Nursing residents who need the most care were transferred to St. Paul’s Towers in Oakland while others are currently being cared for at an evacuation site in Santa Rosa. We will find placements for our other SNF residents today. 

Many of our residents are staying with family, having already made plans to do so in case of an emergency such as this. We also chartered a bus to transport residents to a hotel in Sacramento, where both Spring Lake Village and Friends House residents can stay during this emergency.

Sunday, September 27 11:50 pm

In response to the fires in Sonoma County, Spring Lake Village, Covia’s community in Santa Rosa, is in the process of evacuating. We will provide updates as soon as we have further information. Thank you for your patience.

 

 

 

During a recent webinar, Covia leadership gathered with prospective residents to give insight into management and operations at Covia. The webinar panel included Mary McMullin, Chief Strategy and Advancement Officer; Diana Jamison, Chief Financial Officer; Ron Schaefer, Chief Operating Officer; and Mary Linde, St. Paul’s Towers Executive Director. Katharine Miller of the Covia Foundation moderated the discussion.

The webinar offered prospective residents the opportunity to ask questions about what is currently going on at Covia from a leadership perspective, including COVID-19 preparation, the upcoming affiliation, and adapting to socially distanced activities. Part 1 about Covia’s response to COVID-19 is below. Part 2 about the affiliation can be found here.

Preparation

Covia has approached the COVID-19 pandemic both from a community standpoint as well as system-wide. At the community level, Mary Linde, Executive Director at St. Paul’s Towers in Oakland, detailed how St. Paul’s prepared after hearing about COVID-19.

“When I first learned on January 20th that COVID-19 had hit Kirkland [Washington], we immediately brought our leadership team together to say ‘That’s two states up. How do we get ready for this migrating down here?’” Linde notes. “By January 27th, we had restricted outside visitation for travelers who had travelled out of the country to those tier 3 countries. And then progressively, through the month of February and by mid-March, we started sheltering in place.”

When California Governor Gavin Newsom shut down all but essential businesses, Linde says, “we looked at St. Paul’s Towers as though it were itself a village: What are the businesses that operate within this village, which of those are essential, and how do we carry those out safely?” She explains that initially care giving and meals were the essential businesses for St. Paul’s. With in-person dining not permitted, “we said, how do we do takeout at St. Paul’s Towers?” The team wrote guidelines for how to do safe takeout. “We set up two separate takeout staging areas in our community and we designated times for people to come at meals so we wouldn’t have crowding.”

From a system-wide perspective, Covia established a COVID-19 task force that met daily initially and now three times a week. Ron Schaefer, Covia’s Chief Operating Officer, who heads up the task force, explains that its role is to “keep in touch with the health directives that are coming from different locations and provides advisories to our communities to help the Executive Directors make sure that nothing gets by them that they need to know.” The taskforce also provides guidance around the evolving best practices for infection control and testing and ensures that each location has the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed.

Providing Connection

Even with visiting restrictions in place, prospective residents can connect with a community during this time.

“If you are interested in a particular community, we encourage you to reach out and talk to people at that community,” says Mary McMullin, Chief Strategy and Advancement Officer. Community marketing teams are all ready to do a virtual tour that meets your needs, including walking you through the community, creating a special video with your specific interests in mind, and video conferencing.

The marketing team can also connect you “with residents who are living at the community and you can talk to them,” McMullin highlights. Another great option is the community Facebook pages, which post updates and photos about what is going on. They can provide great insight into what events are taking place as well as what precautions the community is taking.

All communities have embraced new ways to stay connected, adapting programming so that residents have a full schedule of activities. Linde shares that St. Paul’s Towers is “doing a lot of activities through the in-house television, like exercises and cooking classes where they deliver ingredients to apartments and residents can follow along on the in-house channel or on Zoom.” The St. Paul’s Towers chaplain has also transitioned her programming to Zoom for book discussions and more. “We do a happy hour on Zoom every Tuesday night,” Linde notes. “It’s such a gift of connection.” St. Paul’s Towers has also created an ice cream truck complete with a signature jingle that delivers ice cream and treats to residents in their apartments. Linde says “If the residents ask for it, we are really trying to find a way to do it.”

Covia also offers connection programs that are accessible to everyone, utilized by residents in Covia communities as well as the wider public. Well Connected provides a full catalog of sessions that are available over the phone or online and are completely free. Sessions cover everything from arts and yoga to armchair travel and wellness. The current catalog of sessions is available here. For connecting one-on-one, Social Call matches older adult participants with volunteers for weekly meetings over the phone. Participants enjoy talking with others from the comfort of their home and these weekly meetings go a long way toward fostering the connections that social distancing has proven are a crucial part of wellness.

Although the challenges of responding to COVID-19 are real, Covia is still finding new and positive ways to make healthy communities, build connections, and stay engaged.

Community life at Covia shifted with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and implementation of the shelter-in-place orders — residents, staff, and program participants found new ways to stay connected. Group activities and communal dining were put on hold while residents stayed safer at home, but resident resiliency and staff dedication quickly allowed for new realities.

A primary challenge for dining services at each community was shifting from a seated dining room experience to packaging all meals for delivery or take-out. Dining staff rose to the occasion with creativity, experimentation, and flexibility. At Canterbury Woods, residents even volunteered to help coordinate the orders for their neighbors so everyone could get what they wanted. To enhance their regular meal offerings, the San Francisco Towers dining staff offered a weekly door-to-door cart with wine and cheese and fresh produce from the farmer’s market.

At St. Paul’s Towers, a server went out of his way to bring Margaret Hasselman, an SPT resident, part of her meal that had gotten left out of her bag. “Last night after I returned to my apartment from picking up my dinner at the bistro, I heard a knock at my door. It was Roderick! He came up to my 12th floor apartment to bring me crudités that were missing from my bag,” Margaret says. “I still am so delighted that he would do that. Such an act of kindness, generosity, and thoughtfulness. ”

At Webster House, Executive Director Linda Hibbs checks in on residents by personally delivering glasses of wine door to door in the evening. At Canterbury Woods, the “Good Humor Crew” was a big hit, with dining staff going door to door delivering ice cream. “It makes me feel like a kid again!” says one happy customer.

Activities directors also had to adapt, and staff and residents alike began embracing the virtual possibilities for group activities. Spring Lake Village, which has a robust wellness program, created a schedule of fitness classes for residents to enjoy via the Zoom online platform, accessed by computer or tablet. A parcourse with exercises to be done outside along the walking path was also created as a way for the residents to get exercise while socially distanced. Musicians who would typically perform for an audience in the Spring Lake Village Montgomery Center recorded concerts to be enjoyed online. Residents also staged impromptu concerts in courtyards for neighbors to enjoy from their windows and doorways.

At St. Paul’s Towers, the program team organized a socially distanced virtual happy hour where residents visited the lounge to pick up a glass of wine, sparkling water, or portioned ingredients to make their own cocktail of the day. Residents took their beverages back to their apartments and tuned into a Zoom session to catch up and enjoy each other’s company.

Social distancing may mean that our residents and staff can’t be physically close, but fortunately, there are still plenty of ways to connect with each other and the outside world while staying safe at home.

*This article was originally published in the Summer 2020 edition of Community Matters

As the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic set in, the healthcare staff at each Life Plan Community and at Support Services rose to the occasion and continued to do what they do best: provide excellent care to our residents. Covia has always had strong health care delivery and infection control procedures, but the pandemic has made the planning and training required to maintain safety more evident.

At Spring Lake Village, Jodi Arnheiter, RN and Director of Staff Development, and Sherry Taylor, RN and Director of Nursing, have led the local infection control response. Jodi, who has worked at Spring Lake Village for over 10 years, was trained by the Association for Professional Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) — the leading professional association for infection control specialists. The training includes epidemiology, microbiology, science-based infection prevention practices, and implementation of practices in a long-term care setting.

“We are so lucky to have Jodi on our staff. From the first day, she was providing daily guidance on what we had to do to be prepared,” reports SLV Wellness Director Diane Waltz. Jodi communicates frequently with the Sonoma County Public Health Department on any new data regarding the current situation, as well as reviewing the updates from CDC and the California Association of Long Term Care Medicine (CALTCM). Jodi’s colleagues praise her calm, reassuring presentation of the facts and actions that need to be taken.

In Oakland, Lisa Hiltbrand, the daughter of Helen Hiltbrand, a resident in the healthcare center at St. Paul’s Towers, expressed her gratitude for the staff, whose compassion and care for their residents was especially important during a time when family members had to stay at a distance. “Since the beginning of the restrictions due to the virus, their extreme dedication and professionalism have been exemplary. The nurses and staff have gone to extraordinary lengths to support my mother. Ranka and the other nurses have organized regular Zoom meetings for my siblings and me,” Lisa says. “It is such a relief to see our mother when we cannot be physically with her. These extra steps are even more spectacular as they’re taken in a time when the staff’s workload has been increased. I know they are taking extra time for interacting with residents due to the lack of visitors,” she says.

At Webster House Health Center, Executive Director Linda Hibbs shared her gratitude for her staff’s hard work: “I’m impressed with the dedication and compassion you have demonstrated to our residents, families, and staff. This has been a challenging time with many of you anxious about the COVID-19 virus implication and the economic future of family members. Thank you for your professionalism and willingness to be a team of heroes! The care you show for our residents makes Webster House such a great community.”

Organization-wide, the COVID-19 response is led by a task force of nine executive leaders representing Operations, Life Plan Communities, Affordable Communities, Clinical Care, Human Resources, IT, Community Services, and Communications. Grant Edelstone, Covia’s Senior Director of Risk Management, and Cynthia Shelby, RN and Regional Director of Quality and Care, are critical team members, providing guidance for local staff on best practices for infection control and compliance with local and state regulations.

As conditions changed rapidly, Grant’s support to track and implement changing mandates and rules was invaluable. St. Paul’s Towers Executive Director Mary Linde, who is also a nurse by background, says, “I am so grateful that Grant is on our team, especially right now with the onslaught of information coming from multiple regulatory agencies. Grant ensures that we all get the information and sends it to us with a concise recap. He also finds the information for us when we are scrambling to meet the demands of our situation. And he does all of this with patience and kindness.”

For the past three years, Cynthia Shelby has worked across Covia, providing support to the six health care centers at Covia Communities. She, along with other members of the Clinical Team, offers guidance  on the complexities of skilled nursing, including regulatory requirements, preparing for surveys from state regulators, billing questions, staffing concerns, training, and even filling in for key roles as needed.

“A key part of our mission is the continuum of care and how the full team helps residents transition through changes,” says Covia President and CEO Kevin Gerber. “The continuum of care is also about the whole person — not just thinking about their physical needs, but all of their needs.”

Covia has been able to get staff the supplies they need, ordering personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks in larger quantities and distributing to the communities as needed. Shelby, as part of Covia’s COVID-19 Task Force, reports daily on the needs and concerns of the skilled nursing teams, as well as the creative solutions they are implementing — such as turning sections of the health care center into isolation areas should a COVID-19 positive resident need to be kept separate from others.

“We’re making history,” says Shelby. “We’re doing things we’ve never done before. We’re introducing lots of new technologies, new ways of doing things, new ways of communicating to our families. Everyone as a team comes together for that.”

*This article was originally posted in the Summer 2020 edition of Community Matters