The coronavirus pandemic has been going on for weeks now and many people are feeling lonely and missing the people they have not been able to see. For caregivers to older adults, this might leave you wondering whether it’s safe for your aging relative to have visitors yet. It’s true that many areas are beginning to loosen up some of their restrictions, but does that mean caregivers should begin setting up visits with family members and friends for their older family members.
What is the Risk?
Caregivers may know that spending too much time alone isn’t good for older adults. Being socially isolated has a negative impact on the mental well-being of older adults. It can lead to loneliness and depression. There’s also some evidence that suggests it contributes to health problems like heart disease, stroke, dementia, and even early death.
Many caregivers have been using technology to help their older family members stay connected. They may be setting up video chats or teaching the senior to use Facebook. Those are certainly good things, but most people don’t find them as satisfying as a face-to-face visit with someone whose company they enjoy.
Though caregivers want to avoid social isolation for the seniors in their lives, with the coronavirus pandemic, in person visits may not be safe, either. Experts believe that the virus is being spread by people who are not showing symptoms. Therefore, simply asking a visitor if they are healthy may not be enough.
How Can Visits Be Safer?
By taking extra steps, caregivers can reduce the risks of their aging relatives catching the coronavirus. Some tips for making visits safer are:
- Wear Protective Gear: Keep a supply of masks for visitors to put on when they enter the house. They can be cloth face coverings or disposable masks. If you use cloth face coverings, they should be worn by only one person and then washed before they are used by anyone else. Also, experts suggest wearing some sort of eyewear, such as protective goggles or even just a pair of sunglasses. Since the virus can enter the body through they eyes, eyewear can prevent droplets from getting into the eyes and remind the senior not to touch their eyes.
- Skip the Hugs: As much as caregivers and seniors might be craving a hug from someone they care about, right now it’s best to skip them. In fact, try to maintain social distancing during the visit with people sitting at least 6 feet apart.
- Visit Outdoors: Experts think that the virus may not spread as easily outside as it does in enclosed spaces. So, if the day is nice, consider setting the senior up outside to visit.
Make sure they are in a comfortable chair in the shade. Consider having a pitcher of cold water or lemonade available in case the older adult and their guest get warm or thirsty.
Even with these precautions, being around other people still puts the older adult at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus than if they were alone. Caregivers who are concerned about their older family member’s safety should speak with a doctor about the risks versus benefits of having visitors.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering caregivers in Turlock, CA, please contact the caring staff at Provident Care Home Care today at (209) 578-1210.
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