Jack London's 1912 book Scarlet Plague predicted an apocalyptical world sixty years after a fictional 2013 plague that originated in California. Scattered tribes of survivors struggled to rebuild what had been lost. It's a frightening story and we're fortunate that the consequences of our pandemic have not been as bad. While we don't have a crystal ball for exactly how or when we'll be getting out of our situation, we do have the luxury of comparing ideas and plans from across the MySeniorCenter Network. We appreciate all of you who took the time to respond to last month's survey. We all benefit when this crowd lets its voice be heard. In this edition of Fun Facts, we recap the results of that survey and uncover some interesting and optimistic findings.
Welcome to...Fun Facts - the Crystal Ball edition
The range of responses to the question about when you'll partially reopen for indoor programs, spanned from 'Open Now' to 'No Clue', with a few 'See you in 2022' mixed in. It's certainly a tough question and depends on local rules, vaccination roll-out, mini-outbreaks, etc. Our first glance into the crystal ball does yield some consensus from across the Network. The numbers on the map show the percent of Centers, by region, that expect to be open (at least partially) for indoor programs on or before May 15th.
In general, roughly half of all Centers will be open by May 15, another 20% will be open by July 15, about 25% have no target date yet, and the remaining 5% are spread between late summer and mid-fall (with a handful of 2022's sprinkled in).
Since not everyone will be able to (or want to) attend indoor programming for a while, outdoor events will continue to be important and popular. As a matter of fact, it looks like the majority of respondents will have some outdoor activities for the foreseeable future:
We asked for your most popular and most innovative outdoor programs and you delivered:
If you'd like a larger version of that cloud, click on the image or here. For those of us still putting our winter coats on most mornings to walk the dog, being able to do outdoor events is a big deal. Not so much if you live in a warmer climate, like one commenter on the survey wrote: "It's warm here all the time, so we've been doing outdoor events forever. It's not new for us :)" Show off.
Meal distribution has changed dramatically in the past 13+ months. Congregate meals have turned into curbside pickups and grab-n-go's. Home-delivered programs
have doubled or even tripled in size. Amazingly, you made it all work. We asked a few questions on the survey about how those curbside and expanded HDM programs would change now that congregate meals are in the not-too-distant future (or present, in some cases).
The biggest take-away was that organizations will be patient as people get back into the swing of a post-COVID world. At a majority of Centers, curbside meals will continue through the end of the calendar year and potentially forever in some form. As much as we want to see everyone sitting around the table for congregate meals, expanded HDM programs will live on as well until everyone feels comfortable.
Many Centers have made investments in technology to support virtual programming. We've highlighted a lot of those great programs over the past year. We were curious about whether you would continue those efforts during limited opening or even when we get back to (hopefully) regular life.
The overwhelming majority of respondents plan to continue their livestreams and online programs at least while capacity is limited. More than half plan to keep it as an option forever. It's a very exciting development and as one director told us: "You've got to bring programming to where the people are!"
Thank you to everyone who has helped us test our online programming integration. We'll have some exciting news to report later this month about when you'll be able to start using that. Stay tuned!
It's exciting to be welcoming people back for indoor programs, outdoor classes and congregate meals, but it doesn't come without risks. Mitigating those risks
by putting policies and procedures in place will be critical. Here are the survey results related to safety-related questions:
Virtually all respondents will or might require masks. Contact tracing will or might be required by 80+%. Daily health-screening waivers will also be important. The majority of write-in questions were about vaccination proof. Most assume they won't be able to, but wish they could. One creative respondent told us that their policy is to ask clients if they need help booking a vaccination appointment... Sneaky!
See the Touchscreen = Safety section on the left for some help with contact tracing and health screening waivers.
Life lessons from Dory and Nemo.
(HINT: Click the image)