Moving into a Senior Community During a PandemicTuesday, August 31, 2021
The pandemic and lockdown have been a challenging time for many, as most of us have not lived through such an extreme threat and sudden change to our way of life. With the quick spreading of the COVID-19 Delta variant, many are fearful of another lockdown. With a lockdown comes isolation, and for older adults who are already living in partial or complete isolation, their mental health is a concern. For older adults or their adult children, many are faced with the reality that living on their own is no longer safe, especially during a lockdown and that they may need to investigate moving into assisted living or memory care.
Making the decision to move your loved one into assisted living or memory care during the best of times can be hard, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are faced with more questions and concerns. The idea of moving a loved one into a community where you do not know if you will be able to visit them, the quality of the care they are receiving, the possibility of them ending up sick with the virus, the list goes on and on. These questions are at the top of our minds when faced with the challenge of making the decision on what to do with a loved one. Most of us have promised our parents or significant other at some point that “I will never move you out of your home” or “I will never move you somewhere to have someone else take care of you”. The reality is, 72% of people turning 65 today will require a long-term care stay of some kind in their lifetime and, for their safety and wellbeing, we may not be able to keep the promise of keeping them at home. We need to stop and ask ourselves, is keeping our loved one at home really the best for their quality of life? Many times, family caregivers are only available for a few hours a day, how can they be sure their loved one is taking their medications as prescribed by their physician, getting the help and assistance they need, are not lonely and depressed, and eating nutritious meals?
Senior living communities across the United States have had a major facelift on their protocols over the last 18 months. Protocols that not only focus on the physical health of their residents, but also their emotional wellbeing. All these were designed with one focus, and that is to keep their residents safe and healthy. Isn’t that what we all want for our loved ones, for them to be safe and healthy? In assisted living and memory care communities, staff is on duty 24-hours a day, seven days a week to assist residents with their scheduled and unscheduled needs. The staffing is consistent, so the residents become familiar and comfortable with the caregivers with whom they interact.
As research indicates, social isolation can lead to a decline in cognitive health and depression – what opportunities for social interaction are available for an older adult who is living at home or isolated for most of the day? At a community, the residents can engage in safe social, recreational and wellness activities while practicing social distancing. Staff can lead social-distance exercise and activities for their residents all while providing quality care whenever it is needed. This includes priority access to 3 nutritious meals a day, medication management, and health & wellness services, such as regular visits from a physician, 24/7.
When considering a senior community, make sure to ask what their current protocols are regarding visitation. These are constantly changing to comply with local and state guidelines. Working with the community’s staff prior to making a move will ensure that your loved one is somewhere that will work for not only them, but also for you. It is time to stop being the caregiver and get back to the moments that matter by being the son, daughter, or spouse so that you and your loved one’s quality of life can improve.
Knowing in advance that we may be headed for another lockdown, allows us to take the steps needed to keep both our mental and physical health in check.
Jamie Smith, CDP
Sales Director for Blossom Springs
Blossom Collection of Inspired Senior Living