Houston's Belmont Village Senior Living Communities combat COVID-19 with vaccine, a sense of community, special events and crucial socialization
“While 2020 presented a year of unprecedented challenges for senior living communities, we are delighted that residents and staff of Belmont Village are set to receive priority vaccines and as such, we have been working closely with Walgreens, our vaccine vendor, to prepare each of our communities,” says founder & CEO, Patricia Will. “While the gift of immunity will be a game changer, we will not let down our guard. Throughout this pandemic we have found creative ways to assure that our residents live rich and fulfilling lives. So, while we will not be burning our masks just yet, we are excited that resident vaccine participation is nearly 100%. Happily, our associates are not far behind.”
Patricia Will understands firsthand the challenges and concerns created by the pandemic. In 1998, Will was in search of a warm and engaging place to move her mother-in-law, Josephine, who suffered with early-stage dementia. After repeated mishaps with at-home care, she discovered that there were no communities in Houston to meet Josephine’s care needs. This gave rise to the first Belmont Village, in West University, which Will launched about a mile from the Texas Medical Center. The idea was to create a robust environment for care needs while excelling in hospitality, all while honoring the gift of aging.
Patricia’s father, “Papi”, has lived at Belmont Village for 2.5 years and loves being surrounded by all his friends, some of whom have been his neighbors and close pals for over 20 years. A terrific watercolorist, he has taught beginners and a master class throughout the pandemic, always at safe social distances. He especially loves the community’s new art studio, its theater, the life-size “Zoom Room,” and the community’s magnificent outdoor spaces.
Belmont Village has been holding a series of educational webinars for employees, residents, and their families to learn about the COVID-19 vaccine(s). These webinars feature opinions from a variety of experts, including a dialogue between Patricia and Peter Jay Hotez MD, PhD. Dr. Hotez is the Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, located in Houston, TX, and a leading scientist and expert in the fields of global health, vaccinology, and disease control. His testimony to the efficacy and safety of the vaccine has been crucial to Belmont’s effort to educate residents, families, and employees, and has helped them understand the importance of getting vaccinated.
Many of Belmont Village’s programs were developed in concert with leading research institutions in the field of aging, such as Vanderbilt University, University of California Los Angeles, University of Southern California, and the University of California San Diego. One of their most well-known, established, award-winning programs is the Circle of Friends®, which addresses the needs and abilities of residents with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or mild to moderate memory loss. In conjunction with Belmont Village’s multi-faceted approach to Whole-Brain-Fitness, the Circle of Friends program enriches the lives of residents by allowing them to live in assisted living residences while participating in a structured day of activities designed to help maintain cognitive function.
What began as one assisted living community in Houston’s West University neighborhood flourished into 31 Belmont Villages in major cities around the United States and Mexico City. Belmont Village is a fully licensed composite of independent living, assisted living, and memory care, utilizing learnings from teams of specialists from universities, healthcare institutions, and professional organizations to provide the highest levels of hospitality and care.
“Everything we do is devoted to making our communities the kinds of places where residents are happy to live, and their families are confident that the environment and care Belmont Village provides are of the highest quality. We believe that aging is a gift and that caring for the aging is a privilege,” adds Will.
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