Starting Tuesday, Feb.16, Homestead of Albia residents will begin hosting family members and friends for in-person visits within their apartment homes. Since March of 2020, visitation at assisted living communities has been largely restricted to essential caregivers or limited to window or virtual visits due to COVID-19.

“A few days ago, the team shared the good news with residents,” said Amanda Atwell, executive director at Homestead of Albia. “Our residents are so excited. They have been waiting a long time to have in-person visits within the comfort of their own apartments.”

The visitation policy change comes after residents and staff members at the community were offered both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. After the second shot, the community waited the recommended 14 days to ensure the vaccine had enough time to be fully effective. Now, the community is preparing to welcome visitors, but there will still be safety precautions in place.

“The COVID-19 vaccine provides our residents some protection,” said Atwell. “But COVID-19 is still a threat and our visitors likely have not had the opportunity to get vaccinated. We will continue to be cautious as we welcome visitors.”

Atwell said visitors must follow the community’s visitation guidelines including, but not limited to the following:

- Visits must be scheduled in advance by contacting the community team

- All visitors must test negative for COVID-19 when they arrive for their visit

- All visitors are required to wear a facemask while at the community

- All visitors must pass a health screen prior to seeing their loved one

The COVID-19 vaccine was not mandatory for Homestead of Albia residents, but Atwell says seniors did not hesitate to opt-in.

“Our residents did not hesitate at all,” said Atwell. “They see the vaccine as an opportunity to get back to normal and they are more than ready to get back to normal.”