Senior care during a pandemic such as COVID-19 calls for some extra care and attention and your elderly loved ones are in more need of your care and attention than usual, given the social distancing measures that are required to keep them safe.
Many are calling this an unprecedented time: with the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus 2019) pandemic sweeping the world, there are more questions than answers and no shortage of fear about the progression of this virus.
But in times like these, it’s often most helpful to look at the things we can do, rather than worrying about the things that are out of our control. And today, it can quickly feel like there is a lot that’s out of our control.
Because COVID-19 can be especially difficult for specific vulnerable populations, including those who are over 60 years of age or who have underlying health conditions, we want to share a few recommendations for supporting your senior loved ones during this global health crisis.
Physical distancing guidelines are meant to protect everyone, especially older adults, from COVID-19. But isolation can also do harm for seniors, who are already vulnerable to chronic loneliness, which can have devastating health effects.
One of the simplest ways to make a difference is just to check-in by phone, video conference call, or from a safe distance outside their front door or window. With assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and other long-term care (LTC) communities on lockdown or under strict visitation protocols, it’s no longer possible to just stop by for a quick chat or a hug.
Since feelings of isolation and loneliness can have a severe impact on the well-being of seniors (and all of us, really!), it’s important to stay in touch—even from a distance. Take advantage of your phone and give your senior family member or loved one a call. If possible, leverage video technology for a virtual face-to-face conversation. Or even visit their room’s window to say hi from the other side of the glass!
It can be tempting for each of us to focus on the virus. It’s the story leading most news programs, the largest headline on most newspapers and websites, and the focus of many conversations. And while it’s certainly important not to ignore what’s going on, it is also vital to talk about other things too.
Staying glued to the news and following each update and a new piece of information about the disease becomes exhausting—and fast. Take a moment to talk about something you’ve read, heard, or seen recently that doesn’t have anything to do with COVID-19. Tell a favorite anecdote or share a beloved memory to help remind each other that there is life outside this situation.
Help your loved ones find activities that can keep their mind off of the current health crisis.
Audiobooks are a great way for those elders who love to read to enjoy wonderful stories, even when their eye-sight isn’t what it used to be.
Gift your senior loved one with a subscription to Netflix, Hulu, Prime, or some other streaming television and movie service.
Music is often uplifting to the spirit; how about setting up your senior with access to Spotify, Amazon Music, or something similar? In fact, you can make it easy for them by installing a device that is voice-activated such as Amazon’s Echo or Google Home.
If they are able, get your loved one a pet to care for. A small cat or dog provides company and also a “little one” for your senior to take care of each day.
With the nation’s attention turned toward protections against (and treatments for) COVID-19, don’t forget that basic well-being and standard health care are still important too. Make sure that your parent or senior family member is still getting the care they need for chronic conditions, acute illnesses, and other health needs that are unrelated to the virus.
As resources—from PPE (personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and gowns) and certain medications to care facilities and health care professionals—become strained due to the spread of this virus, it’s more important than ever to advocate for your loved one’s needs.
Are you worried that your parent or family member is at risk of losing their LTC insurance benefits in the midst of this pandemic? We are here to support families during this scary time. Read about our services or call us today at 844-858-4500!