Transitioning To Senior Living Amidst A Pandemic
Planning the transition to long-term care for a parent is stressful even under ordinary circumstances, but during the pandemic, the decision can be mind-boggling But COVID-19 doesn’t change the fundamental aging process. There are many instances in which senior living may be the best and most appropriate setting for your loved one.
Who is a Good Fit for a Senior Living Community During Coronavirus?
For many seniors, a senior living community is the right choice even during coronavirus. In general, the following people are good candidates for senior living:
• Seniors who need regular assistance with the activities of daily living such as eating, bathing, or dressing
• Seniors who live alone and have a medical condition that may require urgent attention
• Seniors who have dementia, Alzheimer’s, or another form of memory impairment, as this can make it difficult to follow hygiene protocols
• Seniors living with any family members who are unable to social distance or isolate such as medical professionals, grocery workers, etc.
Seniors who live in a home with other people who are not isolating, and the senior does not have their own bedroom and/or bathroom where they can isolate
Safety in Senior Living
Even under normal conditions, seniors with chronic diseases or memory challenges are best served in a safe, controlled environment with the protocols in place to meet their health, nutrition, and social needs.
If you work outside the home and are suddenly faced with the need to provide care for a parent or spouse, the risk of exposure to COVID-19 can be worrisome. Assisted living communities can offer a safety net to older adults during the coronavirus pandemic. Infection prevention policies at assisted living communities range from enhanced sanitation protocols and symptom screenings to limited visitation and routine testing, among other precautions.
People living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in particular need help remembering important hygienic practices such as washing hands. Under the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and local government directives, assisted living and memory care communities ensure frequent and rigorous cleaning of high-touch surfaces while ensuring adequate levels of personal protective equipment (PPE) are on hand.
Vaccine Distribution Underway
Long term care residents and staff are receiving top priority for the first round of vaccines for coronavirus. Certainly, the vaccine will provide another layer of infection prevention and control. However, even after vaccination, everyone in the facility will continue following all the current guidance to protect themselves and others, including wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, and cleaning hands often.
The Perils of Social Isolation
Social isolation takes a toll on the emotional and physical health of older adults. Health care professionals agree that loneliness is a health concern among seniors, particularly those that live alone. Assisted living facilities remain a safe and viable way to combat the isolation and loneliness that result from sheltering in place during the coronavirus pandemic.
In senior living communities, professional lifestyle directors offer a safer form of socialization with attentive oversight and management of social distancing best practices. From room-service style meal delivery services to programs-on-wheels, professional caregivers keep residents active and cheerfully engaged.
Planning A Move
Senior living environments that offer independent living as well as assisted living levels of service remain the best choice for many older adults, particularly those living with a chronic illness who require assistance with daily activities. Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia symptoms and behaviors are especially vulnerable due to the cognitive impairment that make self-care and personal hygiene more challenging. Considering the enhanced safety measures senior living communities are taking, moving to a senior community may make more sense than living alone and not getting adequate care.
If you have a loved one that may need to move into a senior living community, don’t hesitate, it may be the best way to keep your loved one safe during the ongoing pandemic.