From Sarah Keller
Before COVID-19, home care is considered to be one of the least valued sectors in the healthcare industry. Home care is essentially providing non-medical care to seniors so that they can thrive and stay healthy at home.
Professional home care providers help seniors who have just been discharged from hospital or who are reluctant to move to a nursing home or assisted living facility. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that home care services can help seniors stay healthy, safe, and isolated even in times of uncertainty.
In a nutshell, COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) is a respiratory disease that can spread from one person to another. The COVID-19 virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
COVID-19 Virus: What We Know So Far
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus can spread from people in close contact with each other (within 6 feet) through breath droplets produced by an infected person when they cough or sneeze. A person can also get COVID-19 if they touch an object or surface with the virus and touch their nose, mouth, or eyes.
Some people can be contagious even when they don’t show symptoms, which is why maintaining social distancing is considered crucial. As seniors are particularly at risk, it is recommended that you stay at home unless absolutely necessary.
Home Care Basics for Seniors During COVID-19
If you are a home care provider, it is your responsibility to take all necessary precautions to avoid becoming infected yourself. For starters:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before preparing food, touching surfaces, using the bathroom, or doing maintenance work
- Avoid the crowds if possible.
- If you cough or sneeze, do so in disposable tissue or in the bend of your elbow.
- Do not touch your face, eyes, or nose.
- In your home, clean frequently touched surfaces, including walking aids, sticks, handrails, and medical equipment.
Observe physical distance, but avoid social isolation.
One way to effectively minimize the risk of seniors developing COVID-19 is to limit in-person visits. Understandably, a similar facility can be especially challenging for older adults who value time with loved ones and friends.
If anything, physical distancing doesn’t always have to lead to loneliness or isolation. While it’s important to keep older adults safe, it’s also important to remember that social isolation can negatively impact their mental health and overall immunity.
When it comes to socializing, it would be great to encourage seniors to think beyond the usual people they interact with. Checking in with a neighbor or greeting the delivery person or postman can promote a sense of connectedness.
When places of worship close their doors, parishioners, especially seniors, may feel cut off and isolated. Undeniably, religious communities are a large part of their social life. To provide assistance, you can help them access services online for spiritual comfort and solace.
Use technology to stay connected.
Use technology to make older adults less lonely and more engaged during the pandemic by:
- Teach them how to use video chat with tablets, smartphones or laptops.
- Use apps that provide closed captions for seniors with hearing problems.
- Encourage loved ones and friends to write notes or send cards to lift their spirits
Encourage them to get involved.
To minimize feelings of loneliness and isolation, consider giving seniors a project to work on. You can also find an activity that you can do together, such as B. organizing old photos or memorabilia. It can also be an excellent time for them to show off their cooking skills by teaching you a family recipe.
How to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection
Avoid unnecessary visits to the doctor. If a senior you care for already has an illness that makes them particularly susceptible to the infection, postpone annual check-ups, election procedures, or other non-essential doctor visits.
To help them keep in touch with their doctors, check to see if they offer telemedicine or any other means by which they can communicate other than face to face.
Avoid unnecessary travel. Encourage seniors to postpone any non-essential trips like cruises that can expose them to the crowd.
Get to know the basics. Consider having at least two to three months worth of medication and groceries, pet supplies, over-the-counter medicines, and other essentials worth at least two weeks. It would also be a good idea to find the delivery services available in your area.
Something to think about
Caring for the elderly during a pandemic is not an easy task. However, as long as you keep yourself up to date and revise care practices accordingly, you can ensure that they stay healthy, happy, and successful.
About the author
Sarah Keller is the content marketing strategist for A To Z Home Care, a team of professional home care providers based in Phoenix, Arizona that specialize in providing long-term care for your loved ones. In her spare time, she enjoys riding and camping with her friends and family.