Tips for Providing Care to a Senior Loved One During the Pandemic
Article by June Duncan
Family caregivers have to navigate constant challenges, from time constraints to financial stress. But the current coronavirus pandemic has thrown many more obstacles at caregivers and their senior loved ones. If you’re still having trouble getting your bearings, check out the following tips to ensure your senior loved one gets the care they need during this trying time.
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Consider Long-Term Care
The coronavirus pandemic may highlight some signs that your loved one is not safe living alone or they need more care than you can provide on your own. For example, if your loved one is having trouble remembering to pay the bills, turn off the stove, take their medication, go grocery shopping, eat regularly, and stay on top of personal hygiene, they may be better off in an assisted living facility. Signs of physical decline, such as progressing chronic conditions or recent falls, may also necessitate a move to assisted living.
Of course, paying for assisted living can be tricky, especially during a recession. Selling your loved one's home may be a realistic way to fund their long-term care, so consider whether this would make sense for your family. If your loved one decides to sell their home, help them navigate the challenges involved in selling during the age of the coronavirus. For example, Redfin explains that buyers can tour homes from a distance via 3D walkthroughs and video-chat tours. Just be sure to stage the home first so it looks great on camera!
Plan for the Unexpected
The coronavirus is an excellent lesson in planning for the unexpected. Even if your loved one is okay living on their own for now, you never know when a sudden accident or illness will require a quick move into assisted living. It’s best to research your options before you need them. This is also a good opportunity to gather all of the documents you will need in case there comes a time when you have to act on your loved one's behalf. For example, a living will and power of attorney will allow you to make financial and medical decisions for your loved one if they become incapacitated at some point in the future.
Make Use of Tech
As long as your loved one remains at home, they may face a higher risk of injury from falls and other household accidents. If the coronavirus is keeping you away from your senior loved one, make use of aging-in-place tech that can help you monitor them from afar. Dwell recommends tech tools like smart sensors, fall-detection devices, health trackers, voice-activated virtual assistants, and smart security systems to make your loved one’s home safer and more accessible.
Ask for Help
Acting as a family caregiver to a senior loved one can be incredibly demanding, especially if you’re also juggling kids who are home from school due to pandemic closures. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Neighbors, friends, and family can stand in for you if you need a day off to rest, relax, and practice self-care. If you could use more frequent assistance, consider hiring an in-home caregiver to visit your loved one during the day and help with basic tasks like bathing, dressing, food preparation, transportation, and administering medicine.
None of us were prepared for COVID-19. Family caregivers have had to quickly adopt new care strategies to meet the needs of loved ones without risking their health, and it hasn’t been easy. Take advantage of the resources that are available to you. Whether you seek help from assisted living, tech tools, or friendly neighbors, you will get through this!
Pennsylvania Activity Professional Association (PAPA)
Strives to encourage and support its members through advocacy, education, and resources.
National Certification Council for Activity Professionals (NCCAP)
One of the Certifying Bodies recognized by Federal law, and incorporated in many state regulations.
Looking for information about seniors? The Lancaster Activities Directors Association has gathered a list of organizations with links to help you find what you need.
LADA will offer a maximum of $1,000 in scholarships per year. Please follow the criteria listed in the application to apply.