The COVID pandemic changed the way we approach holidays with our aging loved ones.
During the beginning of the pandemic, it created a full alert on health care for all Americans. It set a standard by which we consider the safety of ourselves and others. The first cases, in the United States, were devastating as COVID hit the vulnerable aging population in nursing homes the hardest.
The mandates have been lifted, vaccines are available to all people, young and old, and we have learned about options to prevent the spread of illness, such as increasing hand washing and wearing an N95 or KN95 mask as needed. COVID is still present but not as deadly as it was in the beginning. Deaths are still occurring but as an exception and not the rule. To an already compromised senior there are still risks that need to be considered during the holidays, and we don’t want our loved ones to be exposed.
It’s important to think about others as we gather, and this can sometimes make for a tough decision. If a family member has a cough or other cold type symptoms, it would be good to consider staying home to avoid contact with the aging person. If you’re not staying home, then being transparent and letting family members know so that they can make the decision whether or not they will attend the family event or if they want to wear an N95 mask. It would be important to have the family member with symptoms wear a proper mask. PROJECTN95 (https://www.projectn95.org/) is a nonprofit that helps find authentic masks that protect from virus spreading.
Access to proper healthcare for your aging loved one is very important because the ability to get to their doctor or pharmacy quickly if they are exposed is paramount. Working with an Aging Life Care Manager® also known as a Geriatric Care Manager to make sure that their healthcare needs are in order is important prior to the holidays. Additionally, care manager’s professional connections in the community and access to resources can address additional care needs and safety concerns.
All health care workers, including home care, assisted living, long term, and skilled nursing staff are still required to wear a mask. And in some cases, they are still wearing eye protection and face shields. Clients, in their own homes, are not required to wear personal protective equipment, although they may feel more comfortable wearing a mask or more PPE while a care provider is in the home.
Many seniors have a fear factor about COVID so the reassurance of your concern for their safety is comforting to them. Even if you don’t have the same fears that they do it is important to honor their concerns as they often have a higher risk factor than others. Understanding and supporting their concerns m shows your love for them.
Family members should respect their loved ones wishes and be conscientious of possible consequences of not practicing safe behaviors they learned through the pandemic.
To find out how we can help you and your aging loved ones navigate the holiday season, please give us a call at 317-300-5454 or email us at Shannon@AgingLifeCareConsultants.com.