You’ve probably heard things like “new normal” and “strange new world” over the past year since we’ve semi-acclimated to life during social distancing and isolation. Although many people have bounced back from these stay-at-home orders, our older population has struggled somewhat with the changes that the pandemic has created.
In fact, seniors have experienced devastating health effects from seclusion. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report social isolation accounts for a 32% increased risk of stroke and a 29% increased risk of heart disease.
Because social gatherings are guided by a broad spectrum of rules that leave seniors wondering how to adequately and safely spend time with loved ones, senior care franchisees have stepped in to be a beacon of hope and guidance for these new social norms.
Home care franchise owner Larry Aronson and his staff at Homewatch CareGivers of South Orange are taking the effects of social isolation seriously and making a point to support and help reintroduce seniors to fun and engaging fall and summer activities.
Taking a page from the South Orange team, here are several ways other franchise operators can incorporate these same ideas.
Partner with Local Organizations
While many of our senior clients in the South Orange area are fully vaccinated, some cannot receive the vaccine for health reasons. Our franchisees understand the importance of socialization and have partnered with various organizations to develop programs to lessen the effects of social isolation, if only temporarily. The partnerships we’ve developed with a variety of local organizations have:
- Created trust within the community
- Enhanced our industry expertise
- Allowed us to be an active voice that influences legislation
Homewatch CareGivers seeks meaningful relationships in various territories that permit us to make positive changes locally and globally. Seasoned entrepreneurs have a chance to become franchise owners and impact the senior care industry through our memberships in various non-profit organizations. The goal of these alliances is to ensure all clients and their families are treated well and get the care they deserve.
Schedule Outdoor Concerts
There’s nothing like fresh air, the ambiance of nature, and the buzzing excitement of an outdoor concert to get people together (safely). One of the ways Homewatch CareGivers of South Orange sought to promote health and togetherness was through several outdoor summer concerts for over 300 seniors in the community this past year.
In conjunction with the JCC of MetroWest, Bnai Shalom Hazak, and other senior health organizations, Larry and his staff organized in-person outdoor concerts so that seniors and their families could enjoy live music and take a much-needed break from self-quarantine.
Organize Panel Discussions
Misinformation about vaccinations has been an issue that our franchise operators have taken to heart and one that we continue to combat. Similarly, we have created resources for our caregivers to help alleviate the adverse effects of isolation in our elderly clients.
Larry and his team in South Orange partnered with Montclair Seniors, LMR Eldercare, and Senior Living Partners for a panel discussion about crisis prevention. The focus of the discussion was long-term care planning to protect seniors’ health and wellness. Creating readily available informational assets and advocating for open discussions regarding the vaccine and techniques to overcome symptoms of self-isolation have helped dispel several myths.
Other Ways Our Franchisees Help Minimize Self-Isolation Loneliness
As 2021 comes to a close and we enter year three of the pandemic, seniors across the country continue to feel the effects of seclusion. Although stay-at-home orders in the U.S. have been lifted, individuals over 65 who are immunocompromised or at high risk continue to self-isolate. At Homewatch CareGivers, we understand these difficult and personal decisions and urge our franchise network to show compassion and respect.
Additionally, we support clients by offering various ideas for combating boredom and loneliness, which include:
- Remaining active and doing the things seniors enjoy most
- Maintaining a daily routine to prevent inactivity
- Empowering seniors to continue person-directed care plans
- Facilitating virtual get-togethers with friends and family