By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — A local apartment complex’s staff are working diligently to keep residents informed and safe during the pandemic while also receiving donations of essential items and services from many in the community.
Retired Tigers Senior Apartments, 320 W. Main St., Warsaw, primarily houses those who are 62 and older and/or disabled of any age. Since older adults fall into the high-risk category for COVID-19, staff members have been taking many precautions to keep residents safe, while also making sure they have essential items.
“We used to have our community room open where we would host Bingo, card games or presentations,” said Melanie McGinnis, Retired Tigers service coordinator. “But that’s now closed off to keep our residents safe.”
Even though Bingo nights are on hold for the time being, McGinnis is making sure residents stay entertained through a variety of means such as making weekly phone calls to check how they’re doing in isolation and putting crosswords on their doors. Property Manager Brandon Prater conducts wellness checks on residents while also working to keep residents informed and calm.
“The residents understand that we’re looking out for their best interests and that everything is going to be fine if we just follow instructions and use common sense,” said Prater. “I’ve gotten several calls from people who just call to say that they appreciate what we’re doing.”
Access to the apartment complex’s food pantry has also slightly changed. Residents now have to call McGinnis for specific items they need from the pantry rather than physically visit.
“We’ve had to make some changes in how we function, but we’re still getting things done that need to get done,” said Prater.
The apartment’s maintenance staff and porter are also disinfecting the building on a daily basis.
“On top of their routine things, they are constantly sanitizing left and right, every day, on cue,” said McGinnis.
Several organizations and people have also donated supplies and services to apartment residents. David Neff, Kosciusko Community Senior Services executive director, has been picking up groceries for residents who order online through Owen’s Supermarket. Before the pandemic, KCSS workers took Retired Tigers residents out twice a week to go shopping.
“They order it online and we go pick it up for them,” said Neff. “But everything we do is to help them. This is a unique situation for everyone but we’re very proud to be a part of this community. Retired Tigers’ staff is doing awesome and excellent work to keep both residents and staff safe through all of this.”
Other organizations and people who have assisted Retired Tigers include Ken Locke, Salvation Army; World Compassion Network; Clunette United Methodist Church; Janet Harrison, REAL Services; Kosciusko Home Care and Hospice; and Scott Clay and Dave Barfell.
Clay and Barfell are community members who donated masks to the residents.
“Every single resident now has a mask because of them,” said McGinnis. “It’s absolutely wonderful.”
“It’s really been amazing because a lot of the people, we haven’t even contacted and asked,” said Prater. “It’s amazing what people are willing to do in the community.”
“I’m really blessed to not only work in this community, but to be able to live here and see how people pull together in times like this,” said McGinnis.