COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates

The Golden Years’ primary focus and concern is the safety and well-being of our precious residents and our valued staff.

As a healthcare facility serving seniors, we recognize the increased vulnerability of our residents in this situation and therefore are continually monitoring and following the guidance and direction given to us by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), and the Walworth County Division of Public Health. In addition, we have been, and will continue to be in contact with our local hospital and physician partners to ensure we are properly coordinating care with them and doing all we can to serve and protect our residents during this evolving situation.

As the situation related to Coronavirus develops, we will add updates to this page by date, with the most recent appearing at the top.


Our buildings are currently CLOSED to visitors.
April 6, 2020

To be perfectly honest, as we hear of increasing cases locally of COVID-19 we are all a little on edge and hyper-focused on doing all we can to protect our residents and each other during this time. So it’s such a welcomed contrast to look out the window and see the sun, and hear the birds, and see the greening signs of Spring. We know that this challenge is really just beginning, but we head into the unknown of this week – and the coming weeks – so grateful for our amazing, brave, and faithful staff. And we know, as the old Persian adage goes, this too shall pass.

In the words of Gio Marra, our maintenance guy Tony’s brother, during the recent video concert he shared with our residents:
Have a little faith
Have a lot of hope
Always wash your hands
And use a lot of soap!

April 2, 2020

As readers of our past updates are well aware, we have already implemented many things to try to keep the COVID-19 virus out of our buildings, and we are constantly evaluating additional ways to protect our residents and our staff. With that in mind, we wanted to inform you of some additional precautions that we are putting in place.

To be clear, these changes are preventative. There are currently no known cases of coronavirus in either of our buildings and our focus and full commitment is to keep it that way!

Beginning this week, all of our staff will begin wearing scrubs and fabric face masks in addition to the hand hygiene, temperature taking, and symptom screening we have previously had in place. Much like the process at a hospital, upon arriving at work our staff will change out of their personal clothes and put on a pair of Golden Years provided scrubs and a fabric face mask. As staff leave the building, they will change back into their personal clothes, leaving their used scrubs and mask for the Golden Years to launder.

By providing scrubs that stay at the Golden Years, our hope is that our staff won’t accidentally bring anything into the building on their clothing, and will have additional confidence that they won’t inadvertently take anything home to their families on their clothing either. In addition, with everyone beginning to wear masks now – before there is an outbreak – we are hoping to help prevent the broad unintentional spread of the virus by asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals.

This change is not something that has been required of us by any governmental or regulatory entity. We decided to take this step and make this financial investment in an effort to do all we can to protect our residents, our staff, and our staff’s families during this time. This new process is costly, and it definitely requires additional time and effort from each of our staff. It also doesn’t come with any guarantees that it will be successful, but even the fact that it might help prevent or contain this virus makes it completely worth it to all of us.

March 28, 2020

With help from some wonderful (and patient) test subjects over the past week, we were able to enhance our technological ability to facilitate FaceTime or Skype conversations with residents in both of our buildings. We have reached out to family members that have shared their email addresses with more specific details on how to best coordinate video chats with us. If you’re interested in setting up a video chat and did not receive an email from us, please contact us directly. The contact information for both buildings and our online contact form can be found by clicking on the “Contact Us” link at the top of this page or by clicking here


We also want to certainly encourage everyone to keep reaching out to their loved ones with phone calls or by sending cards and letters. Our residents all seem to be doing well, but we have observed many times already that a message from a loved one definitely helps to lift their spirits and is a cherished bright spot during this time. 

As an additional way of staying connected – while we are admittedly very behind at the moment – we will attempt to keep posting photos from both of our locations on our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Please feel free to follow us on any of those sites for little glimpses of life at the Golden Years.
March 24, 2020 - Fabric Mask Guidance

As the world struggles with global shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), we have been contacted this week by several generous and caring people offering to help sew face masks for us. Thank you!

Your time and talent can greatly impact our ability to care for our seniors and help ensure our safety as we do. Fabric masks offer the benefit of being able to be washed and re-used. Still a large supply is needed, as each healthcare worker may need to change their mask several times during their shifts, as the mask becomes soiled or damp – for maximum protection.

We aren’t worried about looking stylish – but we are concerned about functionality. Non-matching fabrics, thread, binding strips are just fine – but a well sewn mask with no frayed edges or missed seams or “holes” is important. 

In an effort to make sure the masks are as safe and effective as possible, we ask that you consider the following information and guidelines that we’ve adopted from a large Midwest hospital group: 

  • It is most helpful to use a standard pattern to ensure proper fit and function. As a result, please use the following patterns:
  • Recommended fabric for the outer portion of the mask includes heaver, non-stretch fabric such as denim, duck cloth, canvas, twill, or other tight woven fabric.
  • Recommended fabric for the inner lining and filter pocket can be other cotton, cotton-blend non-stretch fabric. It can be thinner and softer, but again recommended minimal or non-stretch. Fabric MUST be laundered in HOT water prior to sewing to prevent future shrinkage.
  • Polyester or other less breathable fabric will not work as well, due to moisture produced when breathing.
  • If using denim or other fabric that is being “recycled”, please be sure it is clean and in good shape. Worn or dirty fabric will not be protective.
  • Elastic should be in good shape, with plenty of stretch and of an appropriate size to fit over the ears. 1/16 inch round cord or 1/8 inch braided work best.
  • If elastic is not available, fabric ties can be sewn on the mask. There will need to be 4 ties (one tie on each of the 4 corners). Ties should be approx. ¼ inch in width, sewn in such a way that there are no frayed edges, and long enough to be tied into a bow on the top of the head (for the top corner and behind the head for the bottom corner).

Completed Masks
Enclose completed masks in a closed plastic bag or closed plastic box. Deliver your masks to either of our locations Monday-Friday between 9am and 5pm:

  1. Walworth, 270 Ridge, Road, Walworth, WI
  2. Lake Geneva, 611 Harmony Drive, Lake Geneva, WI

If you have questions, or need more information, please email us at

March 21, 2020

As our buildings’ closure to visitors stretches into its second week, all of our residents and staff certainly miss the many family members, friends, and volunteers that would frequently travel our halls. We recognize that it’s hard to know how to best stay connected during this time so wanted to pass along a resource that was shared with us by our friends at Aurora Hospice. We also plan to share more information about the attached Tip #2 in the coming days.

Click to open link: A Guide to Supporting Your Loved One During the Coronavirus Quarantine

March 19, 2020

As many of you may have already heard, there are now two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Walworth County reported by the Walworth County Public Health Department. According to the official information they shared, the first case was an individual who had traveled domestically recently and had remained in voluntary self-isolation since returning from travel. The second case is a man in his 60s who is currently receiving treatment. They have not released if the second case was travel related or not. No other information has been shared about either patient’s identity, location or condition. As far as we know, neither individual has any connection to the Golden Years, but it’s still sobering to know that this virus has officially arrived in our county.

We’ve continued to revise our systems over the past few days in an effort to best protect our residents and remain in compliance with the directives issued by our local and national health authorities. One recent change was a modification to our dining service in our independent Retirement Village. We wanted to better enforce infection control practices and better incorporate social distancing, but we were concerned about the social impact of this move on our seniors – most of whom greatly enjoy their daily buffet dinner together. However, after their meal today several residents were overheard commenting that they could really get used to this new plated-service private dining! Leave it to our great dietary staff to even make a quarantine enjoyable!

March 17, 2020

After the many precautions we implemented last week, followed by the flurry of suggestions, guidelines, and requirements issued by our nation’s health authorities, both our residents and our staff are attempting to get used to life in this new “normal”.

We continue to focus on prevention through extra sanitation, screening, and infection control practices, particularly hand hygiene, and this will continue for the foreseeable future.

We have been asked frequently how long we think this might last. Unfortunately, we really don’t know. We believe a significant component will be how compliant people are with these nationwide guidelines, and how effective all of these restrictions are at slowing the pace of this virus’ spread across the country. Much of the recent guidance we have received has indicated that the directives will be reviewed again after 30 days so we certainly expect – and are preparing for – the length of this situation to be measured in weeks or months, not days.

We’ll continue to provide updates on this page, but if you have specific questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us directly. The contact information for both buildings and our online contact form can be found by clicking on the “Contact Us” link at the top of this page or by clicking here.

March 15, 2020

We are so grateful for the overwhelmingly positive feedback and encouragement that we’ve received since making the difficult decision to close our buildings to visitors on Friday. Thank you to the many of you who have reached out.

As hard as the decision was for us to make, we feel affirmed in our choice as Friday evening the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued updated guidance that, among other things, directed all nursing homes nationwide to close to visitors. While that was the most notable part of their updated guidance, as was previously mentioned, there were other components as well. Beginning Friday evening and throughout the day on Saturday, our staff in both of our locations worked to implement those additional directives.

We have now put into place more robust health screening for anyone entering our buildings that includes reviewing and signing off on a series of health and infection related questions, taking and logging their temperature, and in the circumstances outlined in CMS’ directive, preventatively wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as facemasks.

Also, at CMS’ direction, we have suspended communal dining and group activities. Meals are now being served on trays in resident rooms, and all activities are being careful to integrate “social distancing”, which the CDC defines as remaining out of group settings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others.

It has been quite the challenge to keep up with and appropriately implement all of the rapidly changing directives and guidance, but it’s been possible thanks to all of your support, the incredible cooperation of our residents, and the positive attitudes and willing efforts of our simply amazing staff.

March 13, 2020 - Retirement Village

Golden Years Independent Living Update

The Golden Years’ primary focus and concern is the safety and well-being of our precious residents and our valued staff. With this in mind, as of today, March 13, 2020, the leadership of Golden Years has issued a temporary preventative lockdown.

This means:

  • all non-emergency guests including family members and volunteers are asked to postpone their visits
  • bus travel for outings, shopping, and church have been cancelled
  • all non-essential appointments such wellness checks, social gatherings outside of the RV, community volunteer activities and shopping excursions should be rescheduled

In the meantime:

  • Mail service, package delivery and prescription deliveries from McCullough’s and Aurora will continue as usual
  • Trish, Chris and Debbie are finalizing systems to ensure you will continue to receive the groceries and essentials you need as well as providing ways to communicate with your family if needed
  • Linda Austin has offered to host a modified standard precautions/infection control class for all the residents of the Retirement Village

Please know we do not make these decisions lightly and that our concern, as always, is the safety, health and independence of our residents.

We thank you in advance for your patience, understanding, and cooperation.

March 13, 2020

After much thought, prayer, and discussion, we have made the unprecedented decision to close our buildings to visitors. This is a sobering decision for us, and it was not made lightly, but is consistent with our mission. For over 50 years our singular focus has been to provide the best possible care to our seniors. In light of this current outbreak and the devastating impact this virus has proven to have on the elderly, we have decided this is the best way to protect and truly serve our seniors best. 

We are certainly aware of and are concerned about the social impact this decision will have emotionally on our residents, and are working toward solutions to address this concern. We would definitely encourage friends and family to remain engaged with their loved ones during this time through phone calls, emails, and/or video chats.

We will continue to provide updates as we are able and as we have additional information to share. Thank you for your prayers, your support, and your understanding as we navigate through these unchartered times

March 12, 2020

We continue to closely monitor the health and symptoms of our resident and staff and are working through the process of providing updated training to all of our staff on the uniquenesses of COVID-19 and the best ways to prevent infection and respond if treatment becomes necessary. We are continuing to limit guests to essential visits only, and all visitors must sign in at the main entrance so we are able to monitor and track if necessary. We are continuing with ramped up cleaning and sterilization, particularly in shared areas and on common touch points.

As this virus continues to spread throughout the nation, we remain in contact with Walworth County’s public health department and continue to follow the guidance offered by the CDC and Wisconsin DHS. We anticipate that we may need to implement further restrictions in the near future. We will keep updating this page as we have more information to offer.

March 11, 2020

At the time of this writing, there remains no known cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) at the Golden Years, or in Walworth County. However, out of an abundance of caution, we are currently requesting that guests consider visiting another time. If a visit is necessary, all visitors must sign in, contingent on passing a self-screening process. Anyone that has signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, has had contact with a known case of COVID-19, or has been in an area identified with the COVID-19 virus is not allowed in the facility.

In addition, we ask that any necessary visitors use proper hand hygiene by washing their hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, always cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use their elbow if a tissue is not available, limit the surfaces they touch, and limit movement within the facility to the resident’s room. We also ask that any visitor notify the Golden Years of any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or acute illness within 14 days after visiting.

We appreciate everyone’s understanding and cooperation as we navigate through this time.

March 6, 2020

At the time of this writing, there are currently no known cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) at the Golden Years, or in Walworth County.

As this virus has expanded and spread throughout the world, we are taking the coronavirus threat very seriously and have created this space on our website to provide updates to anyone concerned or interested in our status. We are increasing our infection control cleaning diligence and our coordination with our local public health authorities. We have been reviewing our emergency plans and responses, and have been internally meeting over the past couple of weeks preparing our response for this situation should it continue to proliferate.

We intend to provide updates as we are able, and as we have additional information to share.