Ever since the Coronavirus pandemic took over our lives, it has brought a lot of unprecedented fear, confusion, and anxiety, particularly with the elderly. As it is duly noted at palliative care centers in Los Angeles, the elderly depend on social connection more than other age brackets, and now they need it more than ever before during these uncertain times. Also, the elderly and retired usually need help to do the necessary daily activities and require people around them to manage to do just that. Some states are practicing total lockdowns, and then add on top the social distancing aspect which makes vulnerable seniors feel more alone than usual.
Although every inch of the globe has been hit with the Covid-19 pandemic, it is unfortunate to say that nursing homes have been the places that have felt it the most. Because the virus has brought along a lot of panic and confusion, many nursing home facilities have prohibited care teams such as hospice professionals in Pasadena from carrying out their necessary work. These safety measures were put in place to try to contain the virus and prevent transmission, however as many palliative care professionals have noted, these services should have been considered as essential.
These lapses of judgment are just one of the instances the country is letting seniors down and a better job can be done to support them during this critical time. As the virus shows no signs of slowing down, it is important that we all take the time to assess how we can support senior citizens better in the future months. Also, as many workers at Los Angeles hospice have pointed out, this is a lesson that has taught many of us that it is best to be better prepared just in case another pandemic happens again.
Caregivers Must Be Supplied With Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Palliative care professionals in Los Angeles inform us that there are challenges in a pandemic because seniors are usually at a high risk of infection. However, as long as caregivers have the proper equipment, they have the training and capabilities of providing essential care to senior citizens.
Caregivers should wear a mask and other proper protective equipment when dealing with the elderly. Unfortunately, PPE shortages have been a great worry for many hospitals, elderly homes, hospices, and palliative care institutions since Covid-19 cases have increased dramatically. Also, there have been many reports on how essential workers can get the necessary PPE that they need or even prolong the use of the PPE that they already have.
Sadly, essential workers have so much to think about during these difficult times that finding access to necessary equipment is the last thing they should be concerned about. This is why it is vital that the government do its utmost to make this equipment readily available to help these essential workers and the seniors they are caring for.
Give Support To Counter The Negative Effects of Isolation
It is also very important that these additional resources are made available to families so they can see their loved ones during the pandemic. Patients find the isolation and loneliness unbearable, and their loved ones do not like to be apart for too long. Many palliative care homes have had to get into contact with families to comfort them as they feel it’s unfair that they have lost their visitation rights. Seniors are at high risk of depression due to the isolation that they are enduring on a regular basis. Now with quarantining and social distancing measures in place, it has become even more common for seniors to feel alone.
Let Them Know You Care
Many of us have elderly parents or neighbors that are finding the pandemic a challenging experience. Nevertheless, there are a few things the younger generation can do to support the older generation so they can feel safe, secure, and connected.
Provide social support
- Check-in on them on a regular basis with telephone calls.
- Send them messages.
- Leave them a note on their front door, so they know that someone is thinking about them.
- Prepare a meal for them and leave outside their door. Ring the bell or call them in advance to let them know you are delivering a home-cooked meal for them. Keep in mind that it is best to use a disposable container and sanitize the outside of the container with disinfectant.
Run Errands For Them
- Purchase the daily essentials such as milk, bread, eggs, vegetables, fruit etc.
- Take a trip to the supermarket.
- Make sure they have all their medical supplies.
- Remind them from time to time whether they have taken their medication.
Make Social Distancing A Habit, Not Social isolation
- Keep in-person visits to a minimum.
- Make sure they understand that they have to practice social distancing to keep safe.
- Help them feel and stay connected with family and loved ones through technological methods they probably need assistance with such as video chatting on smartphones, laptops, or computers.
Postpone Unnecessary Medical Visits
- Assist them with staying in touch with their doctor through tele-medicine.
- Let them know that it is best that they speak to doctors through video, email, or other ways rather than face-to-face and that you are here to help them if needed.
Set Up Emergency Contacts And Speed Dials
- Select a person who is closeby who they can depend on to care for them in case you are not available or out of reach.
- Give them a hand with putting all the important phone numbers in speed dial.
- Make sure to add the COVID-19 emergency helpline numbers to their contacts and speed dial.
Also, let them know that if they begin to develop symptoms such as a fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath, they should get in touch with their family doctor, helpline, or the nearest hospital.
Remember that many people are under quarantine, suffering unemployment, can’t go anyway because of travel bans, and many schools have closed due to this pandemic. Unfortunately, it’s easy to let negative thoughts and feelings overcome you. However, keeping a positive outlook is not only good for you but also a great supporting tool to help older adults as well.