Aviva’s Storm Preparedness Gets High Praise from Family Members

May 3, 2018

 Aviva’s Storm Preparedness Praised.

With hurricane season rapidly approaching, many members of our community look back on the remnants and lessons from Hurrican Irma.  Like much of the community, Aviva is looking back at our success during Irma as we prepare to face this coming season.

Below is a Testimonial Letter from the family of an Aviva resident.

Dear Jay,
I want to commend you and Kobernick in the highest terms possible for your management of Hurricane Irma this past September. I regret that I haven’t put this in writing long before now. The staff communicated proactively with family through emails and offered a hotline where family members could call for information and assurance. You updated us as to plans, forecasts, and actions that were being taken. As important, you gave residents confidence that they were safe and well taken care of. My father was amazingly calm and unperturbed by the impending storm. He had a plan to move upstairs to another apartment when needed but was able to go to bed and go to sleep the night the storm hit with the confidence that staff would wake him if it was necessary to move during the night! That is amazing. (He slept better than I did that night, as I stayed up to track the storm until the eye had passed Sarasota.) As it turns out, it was not necessary for him to move and all were savedmuch hassle. Residents were well-fed and comfortable through what was a decidedly uncomfortable occurrence.
As an off-spring living far away, I cannot tell you how much it meant to all the “Kids” to have updated information and to know how well Dad was being taken care of. Thank you, Jay, and convey our belated thanks to the staff.
With warm regards.

Read more about Aviva’s storm-preparedness.

(originally published in The Jewish News of Sarasota-Manatee, Nov. 2017)

Aviva- A Campus for Senior Life Journey Through Irma
How the retirement community become a safe haven for the community during Hurricane Irma.

With much of our community returning to normal after the destruction brought on by Hurricane Irma, many are coming forward to recognize individuals and organizations who stepped up during the storm. One of these unique organizations was Aviva-A Campus for Senior Life – a Sarasota based retirement community which was one of the few facilities in the area to shelter guests and families during the storm. On average the campus which hosts Independent & Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing is home to roughly 300 residents, however over the 72 hours that Hurricane Irma threatened the area, over 650 individuals including 27 high-risk residents from nearby Plymouth Harbor, and 100 pets took refuge in the campus’s two main buildings.

“Living in Florida we are no strangers to hurricanes. Every year we as a community work to prepare for the absolute worst case scenario. We prepare our homes, our businesses and our families to weather the storm. Our seniors do not have the ability to prepare, which means that it is up to us to do it for them. Preparing for a storm like Irma cannot start 24 or 48 hours before, it is a process that has to be continuously executed and practiced.” That was the same mentality that led Aviva’s CEO, Jay Solomon, to begin storm preparations over a week before Irma began its path across Florida. In those early days, the team focused on checking generators, collecting resources, securing building foundations, and running through their emergency plan.

24 hours before Irma hit the Florida Keys, Solomon and his team put out a mass call to their staff. Normally this call would be a standard all hands on deck calling for all available staff to return to campus to care for residents however this time it was different. Staff were instead invited to bring their families as many members as needed to campus to take shelter. Residents were encouraged to reach out to their own families and friends in areas like The Meadows & Lakewood Ranch to provide them shelter as well.

Families were given space in apartments while operation staff set up cots and sleeping bags in offices and common rooms. In addition to providing shelter and sleeping quarters, Aviva’s dining staff worked around the clock to provide 3 hot meals a day including dietary and special need meals. The goal was to create an atmosphere and schedule that was as close to normal as possible causing minimal impact to the residents who call Aviva home.

Preparation was the ultimate key during the storm and it is because of it that the Aviva campus was able to weather the storm without damage, injury, or loss of power. The situation across the state of Florida was not as successful. Aviva’s team was shocked to hear the recent news out of Hollywood, FL and quickly joined the state’s coalition of healthcare facilities in their effort to alleviate the burden on other facilities.

Under orders from Governor Scott the Florida Assisted Living Association released new regulations regarding emergency power and emergency planning. These regulations will go into effect in the middle of October and aim to push all facilities to have access to emergency generators and supplies. As one of the members of the healthcare coalition Aviva was proud to work to develop these regulations which are based heavily on the communities own success. As a team, the healthcare professionals at Aviva will be working closely with facilities across the county to help them plan for future storms.

The Aviva- A Campus for Senior Life story is only one of the many success stories coming in across the state. As a community, the team wants to take a moment to thank the staff who put themselves on the line to care for and protect the residents of Aviva. Each staff member who came and stayed on campus showed true passion for what they do and a love for the community. Their heroic work can never be properly rewarded.

For more information on Aviva- A Campus for Senior Life or to hear more about their Hurricane Irma experience, please visit avivaseniorlife.org or call 941-377-0781 to schedule a visit.

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