Self-isolation is key to keeping the virus at bay
The holidays are here, and unfortunately, so is the lingering COVID-19 pandemic. Promising vaccines are just around the corner, but it’s going to take some time for their effect to impact our lives. New York Times writer David Leonhardt compares the vaccine to a fire hose; it’s not the size of the hose, but the size of the fire. We can’t let our guards down just yet.
Self-isolation is key to keeping the virus at bay, but senior isolation includes its own serious health risks: heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, cognitive decline, and depression. It’s important to carefully think through both the physical and psychosocial risks as you decide how to celebrate the holidays with seniors this year. It’s a delicate balancing act, but the following considerations can help.
Over the river and through the woods?
Before piling into the car (or plane) and heading off to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s this year, keep in mind that any time people gather together, the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus is increased. Think through these four steps:
- First, reflect selflessly on who you may have been exposed to over the past 14 days, and whether there’s the chance of introducing the virus to the senior’s environment.
- If you feel confident that you’re safe, again, acting selflessly, limit the number of people visiting the senior to immediate family, and have them reflect on their past 14 days as well.
- If you have reconciled both of the above steps, follow local, trusted advice (such as from the local Department of Health) and practice good COVID-19 hygiene and protocols.
- If possible, plan your gathering outdoors to further reduce risk.
Zoom on in!
If you’d feel safer skipping the in-person celebrations this year, technology is the next best thing. Utilizing Zoom or a similar platform allows families to connect in creative ways for a celebratory environment. Play games, set up groups with chat rooms, share pictures and stories. Anything that brings the world closer to the senior when you can’t actually be there is helpful. A professional in-home caregiver could help seniors with downloading the program and connecting to the call.
The caregiver connection
Alleviating loneliness and isolation is one of the key benefits of engaging the services of an in-home caregiver. During the holidays, it’s even more important for seniors to feel connected to others, and reputable home care agencies are taking steps to ensure the safety of the seniors they serve, such as:
- Wearing appropriate PPE: masks and gloves in a residential home, and additionally, a face shield in assisted living facilities and nursing homes
- Verifying the health of the caregiver before each shift to ensure he or she is symptom-free and has not been exposed to anyone who may be at risk
- Washing hands frequently
- Practicing social distancing when appropriate
Professional caregivers can help through:
- Providing companionship for conversations, reminiscing, engaging in fun activities and outings, etc.
- Helping to decorate the home to ensure senior safety and reduce fall risk
- Shopping and preparing meals
- Setting up technology and helping seniors connect with family and friends
- And more
Call Right at Home of Sarasota to learn more about our professional home care in Siesta Key and nearby areas. You can reach us any time at (941) 929-1966. It would be our pleasure to discuss and provide services to address your in-home care needs.