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Caring for Seniors in a COVID-19 World

 

As seniors remain the most at-risk community for COVID-19, their caregivers have met the challenges of navigating adapted care plans, operating with reduced resources, and making difficult decisions head on. The hope: protecting those they love from an unfamiliar short-term threat, without long-term consequence. It's a delicate balance, met by many already accustomed to supporting multiple caregiver scenarios. 

With the unforeseen threat of this pandemic prompting new playbooks for Elder Care, and keeping a high volume of our nation’s seniors in isolation, many are wondering where we go from here. 

Cariloop’s Care Coaches are weighing in on some important topics and concepts to be mindful of as we all navigate Elder Care in a COVID-19 world:   

Where to begin - 29 Top Caregiver Questions 

Our Care Coaches agree the answer to best protecting Elders in a COVID-19 world will differ for everyone. Level of independence, pre-existing conditions, and more come into play. However, common threads are emerging as we learn more about the disease. From where to begin, questions you should consider asking long-term care facilities or home care agencies, to the mental health of your loved one, Daily Caring is breaking down 29 Top COVID-19 Senior Caregiver Questions.   

Why You Can’t Visit 

As caregivers, the first thing we want to do is spring into action. But, what if that sense of urgency is the very thing that could put your loved one in danger? As senior living communities work to reduce the risk of the start and spread of infection among their residents, many family members are reluctantly sitting on the sidelines wondering why they can’t visit, and what internal precautions are taking place to protect their loved ones. AARP weighs into the why for this shift, assurances for protection (that you may want to consider inquiring about within your loved one’s community), as well as the impact of moving elders from long-term care facilities. 

Continued Care 

Although much of the world is at a stand-still as a result of the pandemic, caregivers know fully well that their caregiving responsibilities never cease. So, what happens when your mom, grandpa or great aunt has a doctor’s appointment? Is it safe to take them? How do we continue to help our elder population feel loved, connected and entertained amidst potential isolation?STAT is raising awareness for many of these modern caregiver topics in their Q&A: How to Care for the Elderly Without Putting them at Risk of Coronavirus.   

Power of Protecting the Mental Wellness of Seniors 

Stress management, physical well-being, staying social, safety, and routine are some of the most powerful factors for maintaining the health and well-being of older adults. An event like COVID-19 is naturally going to shake-up every one of these dynamics. We don’t need to tell you that a common caregiver trait is resourcefulness. Now is the time to focus on what you can control to bring as much stability to these factors as possible with the resources available to you. Great part about being a boy or girl scout? You have a troop. The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention does a great job of mobilizing in times like these. Check out their Mental Health Resource Guide for more about protecting the mental health of a senior through COVID-19.   

Caring for Loved Ones with Dementia 

According to alz.org, "although dementia does not increase the risk of COVID-19, dementia-related behaviors can." Whether your loved one battling dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease is living in your home, or in a long-term facility, there are ways to thoughtfully and effectively come alongside them to better protect them from the threat of coronavirus. The Alzheimer’s Association is providing tips for dementia caregivers, to keep those you love and care for with memory-loss, safe in a COVID-19 world.   

What’s Next 

Short answer, we don’t know! But, what we do know is that a caregiver playbook looks the same regardless of dire circumstances. Here's a post about managing caregiver stress in a COVID-19 world. But, pandemic or not, make sure you are taking steps to focus on your own well-being, so you to care give at your best.  And if you need additional support navigating Elder Care in a COVID-19 world, we are here! Let us help.  

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