Mason assisted living center among the first facilities for the vaccine program

MASON, Ohio – As many vaccines approach final approval, an assisted living center in Mason is one of the first facilities to participate in the COVID-19 vaccination rollout program.

Central Parke Assisted Living and Memory Care in Mason has 66 beds for seniors living with memory disorders. The center has taken careful steps to protect its residents, who are at greater risk for critical illness than COVID-19.

“Our residents are the most vulnerable,” said Penny Coffey, executive director of Central Parky Assisted Living and Memory Care.

After prohibiting inside visits at the onset of the epidemic, the center has allowed family members to see their loved ones, provided they follow social security guidelines and other safety protocols. Staff work to be creative in their efforts to help residents enjoy themselves, but there are still a lot of challenges.

“Right now, family members of our residents are not allowed to embrace their loved ones,” Coffey said. “They can’t hold their hands.”

The steps are meant to keep seniors in the facility safe, until a vaccine is approved for distribution. When there is one, the central park will be one of the first senior living communities to achieve it locally. The center is already enrolled in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Vaccine Program, and when a vaccine is available, residents and staff at the facility will be able to receive it for free.

“Social interaction and contact is very important for our seniors with memory care,” said Coffey. “They are used for a routine and they are used for their loved ones visiting several times a day.”

Coffey said she and staff members hope that participation in the vaccine program will bring residents of the center one step closer to having a normal meeting with their families.

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