Senior care demands specialized skills considering the vulnerabilities of the elderly. Caregivers are usually aware of seniors’ unique needs for nutrition, medical care, exercise, and emotional assistance. Being knowledgeable about their care, comfort, and health is key to help them lead an injury-free life without worries.
With COVID-19 interrupting every facet of human life, it too has its influences on home care services for elders. The disruption has brought visible changes in their lifestyle, food habits, social interactions, the support they have, and how they are perceived. Amid the chaos, older adults face health and social uncertainties subjecting them to unprecedented anxiety and fear. It has become a challenge for caregivers to keep seniors happy, healthy, and hearty during the pandemic and afterward. Here are four tips to help home care services to adjust to the new normal.
Enhanced Risk Assessment, Steps To Reduce Potential Infection
The risk of COVID-19 goes up with age and seniors are the most defenseless against it. They run the risk of severe and fatal illness if ever exposed to the infection. Catering to the needs of such a high-risk age group requires caregivers to stay extra cautious. From food and clothing to medical visits and elective procedures, there has to be a clear line delineating what is necessary and what is not to avoid infection.
As seniors age, their immune system weakens, and physical strength, heart and lung functions are at a level less than being optimal. Your ability to assess the risk medically and see the reasons for potential infection beforehand is crucial to help them avoid severe illness. By acting fast, you can save their condition from deteriorating if there is an infection.
For older adults with chronic illness, caregivers should have adequate training in dealing with their symptoms. Home care agencies should also play a key role in helping during telemedicine consultations and providing medical support at home.
Integrated Support – Physical Immunity With Mental Health
While building physical immunity, caregivers should not ignore the mental health of those under their care. Alone, physically frail, with pain and reduced mobility, and uncertain over their medical conditions, seniors often are prone to anxiety, stress, and other emotional disorders. With age, one in five older adults suffer from neurological disorders. Stressors are also more prominent in this phase of life with capability and functional decline.
The fear, chaos, and disruption unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic amplifies their emotional stress. Any news of bereavement or socioeconomic reversal adds to the psychological distress already caused by loneliness.
Caregivers should be knowledgeable of mental wellness along with physical well-being. Caregivers should talk to them, keep them engaged, and away from emotional stressors. A regular evaluation of stress factors, emotional support, addressing psychological issues with compassion, and medical aid helps to optimize their mental health.
Talk to them about their happy memories, spend time with them scanning through photos and memorabilia, or watch together with their favorite movies.
Physical Distancing Should Not Lead to Social Isolation
Loneliness and decreased sociability can lead to depression among seniors. The absence of close family ties makes old age stressful while living alone and the inability to attend community activities exuberate it. With COVID-19 making social distancing a normal, it runs the risk of aggravating physical, psychological, and social loneliness experienced by older adults.
Thus, home care services can help to prevent the widening of social isolation of seniors. Caregivers can focus on keeping them safe and may even have to limit in-person visits. However, the approach should not impact their mental health. As seniors cherish to spend time with others, you should encourage them to see beyond immediate family and friends. Guide them to adopt a different approach to stay engaged through technology. Let them feel a sense of connectedness through online communities and neighbors while maintaining social distance.
Leverage Technology To Care, Stay Connected
Modern gadgets are increasingly used to boost lifestyle and medical support for older adults. Caregivers should be well-trained on how to use this technology to provide better care and comfort to seniors. In times of COVID-19 disruptions, when it is difficult to travel for medical or social purposes, the roles of these gadgets have increased. Caregivers can maximize their optimum use to benefit seniors. The ability of caregivers to use technology can also be crucial to facilitate telemedicine sessions.
Home care agencies can also use medical equipment to monitor, diagnose, and treat elderly patients to minimize the need to visit the hospital. They can also leverage IT technology to help elders stay in touch with friends, family, and loved ones. For example, Skype and Zoom videos can be alternate avenues for social interaction with friends. Caregivers can also assist seniors on how to use their smartphones or tablets. Apps can also be used to help aid in overcoming hearing challenges.
ABloom Home Care offers 24/7 personal care for seniors and others. Our home care services are recognized for its variety and focus on specific physical, medical, and emotional care of our clients. Please contact us to learn more about our quality of care philosophy and proven expertise in this field.