(Chelsea Update would like to thank Lisa French for the information in this story.)
The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially difficult and deadly for older adults and direct care workers, but this week brought a ray of hope to those at United Methodist Retirement Communities (UMRC) and Porter Hills.
More than 1,000 UMRC and Porter Hills residents and team members received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with vaccine clinics kicking off on Dec. 29, 2020 at Porter Hills Green House® Homes on Jan. 4, at Porter Hills Village in Grand Rapids, and Jan. 8 at Chelsea Retirement Community in Chelsea.
Vaccines were provided on-site by CVS Pharmacy for team members and residents of UMRC and Porter Hills’ skilled nursing and assisted living centers.
“So many of us long to share hugs and be close to our loved ones, and receiving the vaccine is a critical first step,” said UMRC and Porter Hills President and CEO Steve Fetyko in a press release.
“The vaccine offers us all an opportunity to be part of ending this pandemic,” he said.
To help protect independent living residents, UMRC and Porter Hills, in partnership with the Washtenaw County Health Department, set up a vaccine clinic for independent living residents ages 65+ from The Cedars of Dexter, The Pines, and Chelsea Retirement Community on Jan. 11.
Similarly, UMRC and Porter Hills is setting up clinics, in conjunction with CVS Pharmacy, for independent living residents of Porter Hills Village and Cook Valley Estates in the coming weeks.
Fetyko acknowledged the work of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the county health departments, and CVS Pharmacy in making the vaccines available.
“We are continuing to partner with them as we seek to gain access to the vaccine for all of our communities and locations. We are extremely fortunate to have vaccine administration run so smoothly at UMRC and Porter Hills. So far, 75 percent of our locations and communities have had the opportunity for vaccinations, and we continue to seek solutions for the remaining 25 percent of the older adults we serve,” he said.
Chelsea Retirement Community resident Mary Lee Rosen said, “This has been the greatest news for over nine months.”
“It felt like Christmas morning,” said Wendy Brightman, president of UMRC Foundation and Porter Hills Foundation.
“There was so much emotion and eagerness among our residents and our outstanding team members who have worked so hard these last ten months to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible,” she said.