How congregate housing residents in Maine are combating the coronavirus

Saco is a small city, with a large number of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other congregate housing, where people live in close proximity to each other. That makes social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic a challenge.Christine Provencher has lived at the Lord Pepperell Apartments for five years. Her neighbors are mostly elderly. “I love it. Love it here,” Provencher said. “We’ve got the park across the street.” These days, things are a lot different, and they’re all in the name of keeping the residents safe. They aren’t even allowed to visit each other’s apartments. “Easter was rough because we couldn’t celebrate together like we normally do,” Provencher said. Other rules include one person at a time in the laundry room, and one person at a time in the elevator. Della Johnson is missing her family.”I haven’t seen my granddaughter in so long,” Johnson said. “If I could just touch her once, it would be great.”Around the corner at the Wardwell, an assisted living facility, no visitors are allowed inside. Screening procedures are in place for all employees at every shift-change to prevent exposure to the residents. Laurence Simkowitz visited his brother-in-law at one of the dozens of independent-living apartments at Wardwell. “Do what they tell us. That’s the only way we’re going to get through this,” Simkowitz said.

Saco is a small city, with a large number of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other congregate housing, where people live in close proximity to each other. That makes social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic a challenge.

Christine Provencher has lived at the Lord Pepperell Apartments for five years. Her neighbors are mostly elderly.

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“I love it. Love it here,” Provencher said. “We’ve got the park across the street.”

These days, things are a lot different, and they’re all in the name of keeping the residents safe. They aren’t even allowed to visit each other’s apartments.

“Easter was rough because we couldn’t celebrate together like we normally do,” Provencher said.

Other rules include one person at a time in the laundry room, and one person at a time in the elevator.

Della Johnson is missing her family.

“I haven’t seen my granddaughter in so long,” Johnson said. “If I could just touch her once, it would be great.”

Around the corner at the Wardwell, an assisted living facility, no visitors are allowed inside. Screening procedures are in place for all employees at every shift-change to prevent exposure to the residents.

Laurence Simkowitz visited his brother-in-law at one of the dozens of independent-living apartments at Wardwell.

“Do what they tell us. That’s the only way we’re going to get through this,” Simkowitz said.