People over the age of 60 are at a high risk of contracting the infectious disease COVID-19. Seniors are especially susceptible to a severe and even deadly coronavirus infection if they live with pre-existing medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer and lung disease.
Considering the heightened health risks for older family members, long-distance caregivers are justified in being concerned. Health practitioners offer advice to keep seniors safe from afar during the COVID-19 outbreak and instructions on how to handle instances when elderly individuals become infected.
1. Practice self-care
Long-distance caregivers must prioritize their health. Protecting oneself against the coronavirus requires frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Keep away from gatherings or maintain a six-foot distance with others. Sneeze and cough into elbows rather than hands, and avoid touching one’s face.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken an emotional toll on people of all ages. Long-distance caregivers are advised to monitor their own stress levels and seek medical attention if the stress becomes intolerable. Try to ease feelings of guilt when unable to provide more help to elderly care recipients.
2. Check in often
While long-distance caregivers are advised to stay home as much as possible, they should frequently check in with senior loved ones. Communicating with elderly relatives should be done from afar rather than in-person at this critical time, since close contact can jeopardize a senior’s health.
During current social distancing efforts, the elderly are likely to experience isolation and loneliness. Social isolation can impact seniors’ immunity and adversely affect their mental health. Long-distance caregivers who regularly touch base help to reduce these ill effects of quarantine.
Utilize technology to communicate with the seniors from a distance. Phoning the care recipients may be combined with emails, mailed letters or cards, text messages and video chats. Social media is useful to stay up to date with the senior’s health and well-being.
Encourage seniors to stay connected with the community via small ways. The elderly may greet the mailman or check in on neighbors living close by. As houses of worship may temporarily close their doors during the pandemic, instruct the senior to stream online faith-based services.
Families who live over an hour away from their loved ones will be comforted to know that staff at the Milwaukee County’s Department of Aging, United Community Center and Eras Senior Network make thousands of wellness calls to local seniors to promote well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak.
3. Monitor loved ones’ health
Long-distance caregivers should oversee their loved one’s health. Make sure the senior has a one-month supply of prescription medications. Having extra medicine is recommended. Also be aware of what medicines, including both prescription medications and over-the-counter ones, that the senior takes.
If the senior normally picks up medications at a local pharmacy, long-distance caregivers should notify their loved ones about dedicated senior hours during the pandemic. Meijer pharmacies, for instance, open their pharmacy doors to seniors on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 am to 8 am local time.
Encourage the senior to be physically active during self-isolation. Elderly individuals may take walks in parks that are still open. Alternately, seniors might exercise at home by following online programs offered by the National Institute of Aging. They can also track their exercise goals via the NIA.
Long-distance caregivers should advise seniors whose chronic medical conditions are under control to postpone non-essential doctor visits and checkups until the COVID-19 outbreak eases. Elderly individuals who are in good health might instead consider telemedicine to communicate with their doctors.
4. Ensure adequate nutrition
Consuming balanced meals daily is important for seniors. Older adults who rely on others to provide meals are likely to be challenged in this coronavirus climate. Long-distance caregivers can still arrange for the safe delivery of nutrient-dense foods during social distancing.
Milwaukee’s Department of Aging contracts with local services to provide support to aging adults. Able Access Transportation helps deliver carry-out meals. Volunteer services, such as Eras Senior Network, focus on delivering groceries to seniors. Curbside meals are available at Senior Dining locations.
5. Act if symptoms appear
Seniors who show symptoms of COVID-19, which include cough, fever and shortness of breath, are advised to call their primary care physician for an assessment over the phone. If the individual meets testing guidelines, the doctor might recommend a drive-through testing site or dispatch a public health nurse.
Caring for a vulnerable senior from long distance during the COVID-19 outbreak can be stressful. Resourceful elder care agencies, like Assisting Hands Home Care, reduce the worries of family members. Our home care agency has protocols in place to ensure the safety of our care recipients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Safe & Reliable Non-Medical Home Health Care
Assisting Hands Home Care is among the many home care agencies that screen caregiving staff each day and ensure caregivers practice good hygiene in between visits. Families experience peace of mind knowing that the health and safety of our elder care recipients is our primary concern.
In-home caregiving services from Assisting Hands Home Care are vital during the coronavirus outbreak. Our personal care services are especially valuable to families who are unable to provide direct care and daily support to their elderly loved ones from afar.
Our non-medical home health care services from Assisting Hands Home Care include help with bathing, grooming and dressing. We provide transportation to doctor’s offices and help them shop for groceries during senior hours. The companionship from our caregivers also prevents social isolation during the coronavirus crisis.
Our comprehensive in-home care services are flexible, whether the family needs respite care, 24-hour home care, live-in care or overnight home care. A free in-home consultation with our friendly staff is available to begin the elder care process. We’ll develop a customized care plan to meet your loved one’s care needs.
Starting or continuing professional caregiving services from reputable home care agencies, like Assisting Hands Home Care, during the coronavirus pandemic is a family decision. We are prepared to take all precautions to compassionately care for your loved one living in the areas surrounding Milwaukee and Franklin and Waukesha, Wisconsin. Call us at (262) 565-6898 to schedule your free consultation.