Navigating the Unknown With Aging Adults and COVID-19
As the state orders are lifting and we can see our aging loved ones again, we need to understand what the best scenario is for our older parents. How do we stay in touch and not put their health or their life at risk? We have seen the effects of COVID-19 on the aging population; it affects their mental and physical health. We also know that having strong bonds and relationships with others helps give elderly parents additional life purpose, which helps keep them healthier. Now that we are approaching our 5th month of living with the Coronavirus, what do we do next?
5 Precautions to take as You Visit Older Adults in the Next Phase of COVID--19
Wear PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
There have been large spikes in the Coronavirus lately, and as a result, we should be very careful when interacting with aging family members. Consider social distancing and wearing protective eyewear and masks to avoid any chance of transmitting the virus. Also, if you are delivering a package or groceries, you may even wear gloves. Being proactive and thinking ahead about protective gear will help you with all feelings of guilt if an aging loved one would get COVID-19. And by all means, as the Governor stated, wear a mask.
Keep Visits Short
The longer you are around someone, the more opportunity you have to expose them to the disease. You could be asymptomatic and not know you are carrying the virus. Therefore, being safe and keeping your visit 6 Feet apart while wearing PPE is the best scenario to visit aging parents, friends, or loved ones. At Continuing Healthcare Solutions we have our own Visitation Station. This station allows you to chat with your family members with plexiglass between you, and you all wear protective equipment. It is a great way to stay safe and visit!
Meet Outdoors if Possible
Early research shows that transmitting the disease is less likely outdoors, then if you are indoors. If you can visit your loved one outside that is best; also, you still need to wear a mask, unless you are beyond 6 feet apart. It is important to follow the guidelines of the CDC and our Governor. If you cannot visit outside and are inside make sure to wear a mask, take off your shoes, and wash your hands as soon as you venture inside. You should keep a distance from your aging parents or loved one, and keep the visit short and sweet. When you leave, wash your hands again and sanitize when you reach your car. It sounds like a lot of steps and precautions, but safely for the elderly and yourself is most important.
Determine the Risk Over Satisfaction
So your parents are in their 70s, and you have not seen them in 3 months. You finally take the plunge to visit them, but are you being extra careful? Who have you been around? Where have you traveled? These are all questions you should ask yourself before you dive in for that long awaited hug with your parents. The disease is not gone, and we have a while to go yet. We need to remember what is most important, that one hug or seeing our parents for another year. It may sound harsh, but we need to consider all the risks and the benefits of seeing our loved ones. Remember ZOOM chats are fun and safe!
Decide Who Will Visit
You are walking out the door to visit your aging parents and your daughter wants to go; what do you do? It is not easy; you want her to interact and see her grandparents, but will she want to hug them? Again, difficult situations and questions to contend with should be at the forefront of your mind. You need to assess the risks involved. Can she keep social distancing and will she be able to contain her excitement to finally see her grandparents? Small, slow steps to visiting are the best options. This sounds elementary, but take it in small doses. Visit your parents by yourself with proper PPE and social distancing. As time continues and we get closer to a vaccine, you may be able to bring children to visit at a distance and show them how we have to visit for now.
Moving forward and living with a virus around us is not easy. However, listening to the CDC and our Governor will help us make choices that do not put our aging loved ones or parents at risk. There will always be risks in life, but we will navigate them with more confidence and ease, if we are careful and LISTEN. Bottomline, you want to visit your aging parents, you want to hug them and share with them, without hurting them. Be safe and be careful, and if you need any assistance on how to guide your visits with older parents or loved ones, contact us at Continuing Healthcare Solutions and we will help you be safe and visit your loved ones! We will get through this pandemic, together!