Within a matter of weeks, COVID-19 has rapidly spread across the United States with news spreading fast that adults, 65 years and older, are at higher risk for severe illness (Older Adults, 2020). For families with loved ones in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility, this news has come as a shock. These families are dedicated to protecting their loved ones at all costs. New policies are being put in place in healthcare facilities to help stop the spread of disease. There are a few things you can do to help make the process easier.
Maintain Social Distancing From The Elderly
Many elderly residents already face daily isolation. They eagerly look forward to visits from their family and friends, especially grandchildren. During this challenging time, you and your family must keep their distance. Children are notorious for spreading germs (Glazer, E. S., & Licsw. 2020), so it’s important they stay away from people 65+ older, and those with underlying health conditions. Both of whom are easily susceptible to COVID-19. If you need to deliver something to a family member living in an assisted living, leave your children at home. Also, keep your visit short and maintain your distance at all times.
Communicate With Facility Staff
It’s essential to know the protocols in place for COVID-19 at the facility where your family member lives. Talk with the director of nursing or administrator for their updated plan to protect their residents. Learn how the staff is playing their part to keep everyone safe. If you’re responsible for bringing groceries, household items, or laundry, come up with a reliable strategy to drop them off while maintaining a 6-foot distance from the residents.
Use Technology to Stay Connected
You may feel guilty of staying away from your elderly loved ones during this time. Luckily it’s easier now than ever to keep in touch. FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat (Archbald-Pannone, L. 2020) are just a few online options, making it possible to stay connected when you’re not able to visit in person. Stay virtually connected to help the elderly feel a sense of belonging during this difficult time.
Check on Elderly Family Members & Neighbors
For the elderly that live at home by themselves, take the time to evaluate their well being. Maintain a 6-foot distance at all times (Older Adults. (2020) while dropping by any groceries, household supplies, and other items they need. They need to avoid going out in public, so do whatever you can to help them stay at home. If they’re lonely, consider sitting out on their front porch to talk, if the weather allows. Or give them a call once you’ve gotten home.
We’re In This Together
During this challenging time, it’s vital to protect the elderly in our community by keeping our distance. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected and continue to show our love and appreciation. The isolation will eventually end, and when it does, you’ll be grateful that you took extra precautions to protect those you love most.