Across the nation, seniors are sheltering in place as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect millions of citizens. Categorized as high-risk, many older adults fear contracting and losing the battle to this complicated illness. For months, seniors have had limited access to resources like hot meals, transportation, healthcare, and other things necessary to survive.
Though the approval and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines bring hope, it could be months before it’s safe enough for things to return to “normal.” In the meantime, families that support these seniors are left wondering how they can help their loved ones during these uncertain times. Below are some practical solutions.
One of the simplest yet most effective ways to assist seniors during the pandemic is regularly checking in. While in-person visits are risky, reaching out to your relatives by phone, email, text message, or video chat can significantly improve their health. When connecting with them, ask questions about their health, living status, and well-being. Pay attention to signs of distress and report any issues immediately.
The fear of contracting the coronavirus has prompted many seniors to neglect their medical needs. From skipping appointments to opting out of necessary treatment plans, they avoid anything they believe could put them in harm’s way. As maintaining a stable relationship with doctors is essential with aging, caretakers and family members are encouraged to set up telehealth appointments. Such platforms allow seniors to get the medical attention they need from the comfort of their homes.
Home Health Aides
Older adults who need help with daily tasks like cooking, cleaning, bathing, and getting dressed are in a challenging position. Allowing family members to visit and assist puts them and their household at risk. Similarly, nursing homes are high-risk for COVID-19 outbreaks. As such, investing in full or part-time home health aide New York (or other cities) can ease everyone’s burden. Seniors can get the daily assistance they need without putting themselves or extended-relatives at risk.
Meals On Wheels Programs
For seniors who need home-cooked meals regularly, organizations like the meals on wheels program can assist. The agency provides free hot meals to local seniors in need. The meals are delivered hot and fresh daily to ensure seniors get the proper nutrition to sustain a healthy living.
Virtual Fitness Classes
Staying active is essential to the physical and emotional well-being of senior citizens. While attending fitness classes provided by senior community centers and local gyms isn’t safe, virtual solutions can be just as effective. Sign your loved one up for a few virtual fitness classes a month. They get the physical training they need and interact with other seniors, which can satisfy their feelings of social isolation. These classes are often free or very affordable and are available for varying levels of fitness.
Move Them In
If your aging relatives cannot care for themselves and need a haven, the best option may be to move them in with your family. As being a caretaker comes with a lot of responsibilities, you’re encouraged to evaluate your ability to accommodate their needs without compromising your emotional well-being. You’ll also need to consider other obligations like children, marriages, and your career.
If you decide to move your elderly family member in with you, you’ll need to ensure that your home is safe. You’ll have to provide a comfortable place for them to sleep and spend their day. All tripping hazards must be removed, and installing ramps and grab bars may be necessary to resolve mobility issues.
Though it would seem that hope is just around the corner, the coronavirus threat continues to cause challenges for the nation’s seniors and their families. For those with aging loved ones who want to be there, knowing where to go and what to do can ease their struggles. Fortunately, there are resources like those listed above that can make things easier for everyone. For further assistance, reach out to your family member’s doctor, local senior center, or Human Services Department.