As we enter into this current pandemic, it’s clear that there are a lot of questions: How do I protect my aging loved one? How can I help while in this period of “social distancing?”
The following should answer some of those questions when it comes to caring for our elders. It should be noted that this article is being written in mid-March of 2020, where it seems as though everything is progressing a mile a minute. As of this moment, this is the overlying information that is vastly agreed upon and available.
As always, check the Center for Disease Control’s website at Cdc.gov to get the most up to date information, and don’t forget to wash your hands!
Respect Any Restrictions Created
This is a difficult thing to ask, especially because this moment makes us want to be close to our loved ones. Yet, if a healthcare facility or home health care agency asks that you socially distance, you need to respect their request. A recent article from the Washington Post states that a COVID-19 lockdown is not unlike flu season lockdowns, wherein health care aides spend their time “increasing cleaning or surfaces or requirements for staff to monitor their own temperature to avoid spreading germs.”
The goal is to limit the possibility of elderly individuals to come in contact with the pathogen. Thus, if you find that you have been asked to distance, it is to ensure their health and safety.
Check in On Your Loved One
Although the CDC recommends socially distancing, it’s important that you still check in on your loved ones! Our age of technology has gifted us with the tools to ensure that you can stay in contact with someone without breaching the CDC recommended three feet of distance.
If you have not already, create a “caregiving ecosystem” to coordinate needs for your loved one. This ecosystem can be friends in the community, family members, or certified nursing assistance. The tasks that this ecosystem will complete can vary from remote grocery store runs, to helping set grandma up with a Whatsapp account, or simply spending the time to call your loved one.
This also might sound old school, but why not take advantage of the time spent indoors to write your loved one a letter? As a memory of a time before text messages, a letter would be a very thoughtful form of communication. It is these gestures of thoughtfulness which connects us and keeps us together, in this time of being apart.