One of the most challenging parts of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for kids and adult children-has been staying away from senior parents and grandparents. It is well documented that those over the age of 65 are at a significantly higher risk of contracting COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately eighty percent of the deaths reported in the United States have been among seniors over the age of 65.
Therefore, to reduce the risk of infection, it has been essential for senior family members to practice social distancing, even from loved ones. Now that warmer weather is on the horizon, and vaccinations are rolling out, it may be tempting to plan a trip to see our senior loved ones. Here are a few vital things to consider before you go.
Assess the Risk
Experts believe coronavirus spreads via both symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers alike. Therefore, any in-person visit carries some level of risk. Here are a few essential points to consider when determining if it is safe to visit a senior during the pandemic.
Consider Whether You May Be Infected
Nobody has a zero risk of catching COVID-19; however, if you have been following precautions such as staying home and avoiding crowds, the chances you are ill are likely relatively low. It is also important to consider your health and any symptoms related to COVID-19 that you may have experienced over the last two weeks.
Properly Prepare Children…Or Have Them Stay Home This Time
Unless you are confident your little ones understand that they cannot go inside or even touch grandma or grandpa, it may be beneficial to forego a visit for them at this time. Help younger children understand the safety concerns and that this is only a temporary thing.
Wear Masks and Gloves
At a minimum, both yourself and your loved ones should wear a mask at all times. Gloves may also help you handle your loved one’s groceries or other items you are leaving behind.
Stay Outside if Possible
Research suggests that virus transmission is less likely outside, and risk is further reduced when a six-foot distance is maintained. If at all possible, remain outside your loved one’s home and keep a safe distance. If you have to go inside for any reason, keep your protective equipment on, remove your shoes, and be sure to wash your hands.
Keep Your Visit Brief
This may be the hardest restriction of all, considering many have gone without in-person contact with their loved ones for many months. While the use of apps such as Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime has reduced the sting of separation, there is something to be said for being in the same general area as our loved ones.
Unfortunately, though, the longer you are together, the higher your chances are of passing along the virus should you be carrying it. Studies indicate that the cut-off for what is considered “prolonged exposure” is about fifteen minutes. If your visit is more extended, it is essential to remain at least six feet apart.
If you opt to wait on in-person visits, for now, be sure to find ways to remain connected with your loved one so that you are not absent from each other’s lives while remaining physically distant for safety.
Consider arranging weekly video calls if possible or, at the very least, be sure to call and check in. Also, encourage your loved ones to reach out to a broader network of friends and relatives via remote channels. It is healthy and beneficial to maintain their social connections, even while socially distancing.
Providing Exceptional Care for Over 10 Years
If you need advice or have questions about keeping your senior loved one safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, contact New Wave Home Care. As a fully licensed home care provider our highly trained caregivers follow strict infection-prevention protocols, including those for COVID-19. While serving as an extended family in the home, our compassionate professionals go above and beyond in their dedication to providing care for others, while making a difference in the lives of those we serve.
Our mission is to support clients and their families with personalized in-home care solutions like respite care, personal care, specialized care, transitional care, hospice support, and medication reminders. At New Wave Home Care, it’s not just about caregiving. It’s about heart! To learn more now or to set up a FREE in-home assessment for a senior in Pasadena, CA, please visit us at www.newwavehomecare.com!