The year 2020 has impacted practically everyone in one way or another, especially when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone can talk at length about how they have been personally affected by this virus. I thought it would be fitting to take a different approach and see different experiences from the standpoint of our elderly loved ones. We will cover the stories of elderly individuals in different settings like: Assisted Living, Rehab, Nursing Homes, Respite Care, Home Care, Home Health Care, Hospice etc.
At New Wave Home Care, we have been blessed with opportunities to work with seniors in all these settings. The stories are real, but to protect the identity and names of these individuals, some background details and some situational details have been altered. However, you will certainly be able to see how COVID has changed their lives.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Seniors in Assisted Living Facilities
Ruth stared out the window, hoping to see some activity outside. Hoping for a view, she gazed into the skyline. Unfortunately the view from Ruth’s window was not that great. It was facing the wall of the adjacent building. If she strained her neck a bit, she could see some skyline.
Normally this would be the time to join the rest of the folks to participate in some activities. The activity director was a good guy. He certainly sang some old tunes and he was funny too. Ruth really looked forward to the outings. That was the best part. They would go to places, do some outdoor activities, watch movies, visit some nice parks, eat at restaurants. It felt good to be outside, meet with people, and see life outside.
The life in her new home at the facility was nice, but then again, it would get stale seeing the same faces all the time. Ruth decided to move into this nice assisted living facility after she lost her husband. The loneliness of being in the same home that she had shared with her husband for the past 40 years was depressing. She needed a change of scenery and she enjoyed having people around her and socializing a bit with other people around her own age.
COVID-19 Changes Everything
However, all this came to a grinding halt in March of 2020. The facility she lived in put a complete halt to all activity; use of the dining hall was no longer permitted. They said something about this deadly virus called COVID-19 and that all contact has to be limited. Meals were delivered in her room, which is nice. But then what about meeting up with Maria, Bill and Iris? It’s been ages since she’s seen them. Also the facility put a complete stop to all visitations. Ruth had two lovely daughters and 5 beautiful grandkids.
Even the staff who came to help were not fun. They were all wearing masks and gloves and some of them were even wearing some ugly gowns. They looked more like machines than humans. Ruth felt they were in a hurry to go, and they seemed scared of her.
COVID-19 Takes Its Toll
Ruth started losing weight. She did not have much of an appetite. Being stuck in the room did not help. She hardly exercised anymore. She started losing interest in things. The facility ED, Elise, noticed the change in Ruth. She had lost almost 25 lbs and more importantly she had lost her sparkle. Ruth was a fun person and a joy to be around. But no longer. She looked very detached and disinterested. She looked pale and gaunt.
Elise reached out to Tracy, Ruth’s daughter who was the POA. “Hi Tracy, there has been a lot of changes with your mom, both physically and psychologically. I think it is the isolation imposed on her by COVID”. This troubled Tracy. She had not been able to meet her mom. She asked Elise if she could come to see her mom. “No, the situation is bad. Due to COVID-19, we have suspended all visitations. Maybe you should hire a private caregiver to give your mom some company”.
New Wave Home Care Provides Assistance
Tracy contacted us at New Wave Home Care and we set up a caregiver to be with her mom for 3 days a week. The caregiver would be with her on Monday, Wednesday & Saturday for 8 hours. They would talk about music, travel, family and share stories. They still could not go out, but the caregiver thought of a brilliant idea. “Do you want to see Tracy and her kids?”, “Yes”, said Ruth. The caregiver did a facetime call with Tracy and her kids. They could all see each other and talk to each other. That was not so bad.
The county restrictions relaxed a bit as the COVID numbers started declining. At the facility they came up with a new system where the families could meet with the residents. The resident would be on one side of the glass wall and the family on the other side. Ruth did not like this. She felt like an animal in a cage. Why can’t they come inside? She felt even more depressed.
The following day, which happened to be on a day when the caregiver was not working, Ruth slipped and fell in the bathroom. 911 was contacted and she was rushed to the ER. Ruth had suffered some fractures to her hip and required surgery. Unfortunately, she also contracted COVID-19 while at the hospital. Ruth was not one of the luckier ones who survived the COVID ordeal. She transitioned a week after she contracted COVID.
Home Care vs. Assisted Living
With the current health situation in the world today, seniors and their loved ones are now shifting to quality alternatives, particularly home care. As a result, home care agencies, like New Wave Home Care, are now becoming a top-of-mind option for families living with a senior. Now so, more than ever before, there is increased awareness of the vulnerability seniors have to infection, so families are choosing to stay away from options where the health of their loved ones could be compromised. Right now, there is no safer place for our elderly loved ones to take shelter in than at home.
To learn more about New Wave Home Care now, or to set up a FREE in-home assessment for a senior in Southern California or the greater Los Angeles service area today, please visit us at: www.newwavehomecare.com!