Guidance for Retirement Communities and Independent Living

Plan, prepare, and respond to coronavirus disease 2019

At all times…

  1. Encourage your staff or community members to protect their personal health.

  2. Post the signs and symptoms of COVID-19:
    fever, cough, shortness of breath.

  3. Encourage people to stay home when sick.

  4. Clean surfaces that are frequently touched – things such as shared desks, countertops, kitchen areas, electronics, and doorknobs.

  5. Limit events and meetings that require close contact.

  6. Stay up to date on developments in your community.

  7. Create an emergency plan for possible outbreak.

  8. Assess if community members are at higher risk and plan accordingly.

During an outbreak in your area

  1. Send home or separate anyone who becomes sick.
  2. If you identify a case, inform people who might have been exposed.
  3. Continue to safely clean and disinfect the person's area.
  4. Connect with your local health departments.
  5. Cancel large meetings or events.
  6. Put your infectious disease outbreak plan into action.

Illustration of a healthcare worker helping an elderly woman with a facility in the background.

Specific Guidance on Preventing the Spread of COVID-19

  • Encourage residents to social distance and stay in their homes
  • Modify and limit face-to-face interactions
  • Establish a “buddy” system- have residents call and check-in on each other
  • Implement flexible sick-leave policies for workers
  • Plan for disruption of typical services like, hospitals, stores, banks, etc.
  • Screen workers and volunteers for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • Ask residents to actively monitor for COVID-19 symptomspdf icon
  • Promote everyday preventive actions
  • Help residents manage anxiety related to COVID-19
  • Ensure continuity of regular care and essential services
  • Notify local health authorities if there is a COVID-19 case in your retirement community or facility
  • Keep residents and visitors informed by using handouts and high-visibility posters in high-traffic locations