To the majority of people, the term “social distancing” is a new one, but to many older people it is all too familiar. Now is a time to look at safe ways to interact while also building new understanding.
“Let’s remember this: the whole of American society is about to get dunked in the tank of social isolation that too many elders live in every day, year after year,” said Dr. Bill Thomas, geriatrician and founder of The Eden Alternative, a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of elders. “Let us take this time to deepen our understanding of how difficult social isolation is.”
Dr. Thomas was speaking during a webinar in mid-March at the beginning of new restrictions in the United States and elsewhere in response to the COVID-19 virus and recommended precautions to slow the spread of the illness.
While professional caregivers have had training and may also have protective gear (such as gloves and a face mask) to don when interacting with people who still need care regardless of the current virus concerns, family caregivers may find themselves in unfamiliar scenarios. Unfortunately, scientists are reporting the most severe cases of COVID-19 have been in older populations and therefore this is considered a high risk group that needs protection from exposure to the virus. See this Centers for Disease Control list for staying healthy.
Here are a few ideas for how to remain connected to loved ones while maintaining physical distance, particularly between those exhibiting symptoms:
Chances are that if you have taken the recommendations of experts to self-isolate during this time in order to lower the spread of the virus, you might feel lonely, bored or helpless. Keep this new awareness in mind as you strive to alleviate feelings of loneliness, helplessness and boredom in an elder loved one’s life at this time and beyond.
The global spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has led to a lot of questions about alternatives to nursing homes with everyone now being asked to “social distance” and what it means to be safe, or safely cared for, during a pandemic.
Lisa Shultz was suddenly told that she could not visit her mother weekly because of new rules to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. Learn how she is coping and still connecting with her mom.
Did you remember to say thanks to your caregiver? It's these little gestures that can mean so much to someone who is taking care of another. March 3 is Caregiver Appreciation Day.