As Hurricane Irma powered into Southwest Florida, one of the greatest concerns was for the safety of those most vulnerable, our senior population, who often face special risks in emergency situations.
With safety as the priority, Gulf Coast Village, a continuing care retirement community in Cape Coral, bore the responsibility of caring for not only our residents during Hurricane Irma, but also our associates and their families, as well as others from the community.
More than 900 people took shelter at Gulf Coast Village during the storm, including residents and their families, our employees and families, as well as local emergency responders. In addition, we accepted 18 residents from another assisted living facility that was located in a lower lying area where flooding was a concern.
Behind the scenes, our team was well prepared, having stockpiled generator fuel, medications, food, water and other critical supplies in order to prepare for potential power loss and other needs. Additionally, medical staff and first responders chose Gulf Coast Village as place to protect themselves and their assets throughout the storm. As we executed our carefully detailed emergency plan, our associates remained with our residents during the duration of the crisis, showing true dedication and commitment.
Picture lots of snuggling, games and prayer as children of our associates entertained residents, and vice versa. Our continuing care retirement community became a place where children played and danced, while our staff engaged residents in activities to both distract and entertain them as we waited and then endured the storm. At the same time, we continued as many of our “routine” activities as possible, such as therapy sessions. This became a welcome escape for our residents. It took their minds off the storm and we saw relief in their eyes.