BRISTOL – Shady Oaks Assisted Living Facility has completely shut its doors during the coronavirus crisis, with owner Tyson Belanger and his staff living on site for two months to ensure residents’ safety.
Belanger is calling on other nursing homes to do the same and for the government to provide financial aid to make this possible.
Belanger said having checkpoints is not enough for assisted living facilities, since carriers of COVID-19 can be asymptomatic. Thus, he made the decision to have no outside visitors and asked his staff to move in for the duration of the crisis and quarantine alongside residents.
“We have 18 staff members and myself living here and taking care of 37 residents,” he said. “The residents love what we have done; they are incredibly grateful to us and feel that we have gone above and beyond to look out for their safety.”
Belanger thanked his staff members who joined him in this quarantine
“This is hardship; many of them are working 60 to 80 hour weeks,” he said. “The worst of it isn’t the long hours though. It is not being able to hug their children or their spouses. It is painful but they are doing it.”
As a result of this quarantine precaution, Belanger said there have been no coronavirus cases at Shady Oaks. Food and supplies are delivered outside and cleaned before they are brought in. No one enters or leaves.
“Out of the appreciation I have for our staff I have been drawing $70,000 from my personal savings each week,” Belanger said. “I am ready to spend my last dollar if I have to, but I am calling upon government and charitable efforts to get involved.”
Belanger urges other assisted living facilities to quarantine like he has. Belanger hopes the government will provide $50,000 to all assisted living facilities each week for six weeks.
“This will cost $100 million,” he said. “It may sound like a lot of money, but once this virus gets in it is devastating. I am a U.S. Marine who served three tours in Iraq and we can’t let this happen to our World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans. It is not too late. Even a partial or belated effort can save lives.”
Those who wish to support Shady Oaks can do so by visiting shadyoaksassistedliving.com.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.