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Life Enrichment Programs Key to Keeping Artis Senior Living Residents Engaged During Pandemic and Year-Round
By Vanessa Orr

Last year was rough on everyone, especially those taking care of seniors and those most at-risk during the pandemic. By following strict protocols while making sure that residents remained comfortable and safe, Artis Senior Living of South Hills not only survived, but thrived.

“We did very well this past year; we partnered with Johns Hopkins University, which helped us implement strict protocols. We were very fortunate that our cases were minimal with mild symptoms,” said Artis Director of Community Relations Mary Jo Greene, LSW.

“On June 14, we opened for family visitation; families and friends are welcome to come visit with their loved ones,” she continued. “We are happy to welcome everyone back to our community!”

During the pandemic, no visitors were allowed, and the senior living community also halted new admissions for two months. It gradually introduced ‘porch visits’ with social distancing, and then moved to studio in-person scheduled visits,  before allowing visits in residents’ rooms this summer.

Even at the height of the pandemic, Artis continued to offer the same high-level programming for which it is known to keep residents engaged. “Because our residents are living with dementia, it is difficult to have them stay in their suites all day; they don’t understand,” said Greene, adding that they continued to allow residents to walk freely throughout the community. “We followed COVID restrictions and protocols, providing small group programming and maintaining social distancing.”  

Life Enrichment programming is very important at Artis, and a Partnership Profile accompanies every new move-in. “We find out about their hobbies, their occupations, how they like to celebrate holidays, if they’re veterans and more,” said Greene. “We want to know what is and was important to them and we use this to create individualized and group programs; it’s our bible.”

Artis residents can take part in the I CAN (Community Assistance Network) program, for example, that enables them to participate in community-oriented projects. “During Police Week in May, the residents made treat bags for the Bethel Park Police Department; residents also made stepping stones for a community beautification project in Bethel Park,” said Greene. “They love to help us and to give back to our community.”

Artis also offers “Time to Dish” where residents meet with Chef Raymond once a month to discuss the menu. “For example, Chef Raymond met with our dads to see what they would like for Father’s Day dinner,” said Greene. “This gives them a voice and they get to choose their favorite foods.”

One of the things that sets Artis apart is that it is not as structured as many other senior living communities. “If a resident wants to sleep in until 10 a.m., that’s okay,” said Greene. “We live in their world, so we’ll have a hot breakfast waiting when they are ready.”

Artis also has a Director of Artis Way Experience, Elizabeth Morian, who serves as a liaison between residents, families and associates. “This is really unique because Liz not only keeps families informed with clinical and socialization updates, but she provides education to our associates, offering lessons on a daily basis to help them better communicate with residents living with dementia,” said Greene.

“Families reach out to us because they want their loved ones to be happy, safe and engaged,” she added. “We are honored to care for them, and have them as part of our Artis family.”

To learn more or to schedule an in-person tour, visit Artis Senior Living of South Hills at www.artisseniorliving.com or call (412) 595-8917.



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