Helping Seniors Stay Safe as Social Distancing Guidelines Ease

senior receiving groceries from a volunteer

We’re living in an unprecedented time where social distancing is the new normal, face masks cover smiles, and six feet separate essential public interactions. While many have accepted these changes on a global scale, following the CDC’s guidelines for safety during this pandemic can be a challenge—especially now that many social distancing mandates are easing. So should we still take precautions seriously? The answer is yes. While social distancing guidelines are easing, it’s still important to remain cautious in public settings and continue to limit interactions as phases to reopen states continue. For those at high risk of contraction—such as seniors or those with existing medical issues—continuing to follow social distancing practices is very much encouraged. 

Physical & Social Distancing in Senior Living Communities

Routines are an extremely important social construct. In fact, maintaining day-to-day routines throughout this pandemic has been encouraged by the CDC as a way to cope with anxieties and promote mental wellbeing. For older adults—particularly those living in communities—maintaining these routines while practicing physical and social distancing guidelines has become a challenge. As a demographic that is at high risk of contracting coronavirus (COVID-19) and already vulnerable to the negative effects of isolation, including depression and anxiety, many are finding it difficult to adjust to the new social distancing lifestyle. 

Fortunately, many senior living communities have addressed these challenges. By limiting visitations and capping group activities, they’ve handled the new change delicately and professionally—keeping community centers as positive and lively as possible while taking social distancing seriously. If you or an elderly loved one is having a difficult time adjusting to these new changes or you are concerned about how your senior living community is handling the ever-changing precautions, communicate with them. Ask about the strategies that they are implementing in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), and make sure that you express the importance of following CDC guidelines.

Caring for an Elderly Loved One? Here’s How You Can Support Them 

If your loved one is set on venturing out into the public, here are some ways that you can manage the situation while keeping them safe: 

  • Talk positively about the future. It’s very easy to get trapped in a negative mindset right now. Not only can this compromise your immune system, but it can take a toll on your mental health. If you find your elderly loved one is heavily leaning on negatives, redirect those thoughts with positive, action-based solutions
  • Make them cloth face masks. The CDC recommends “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”
  • Go on grocery runs for them. Encouraging older adults to avoid high-traffic locations, like the grocery store, will help keep them safe from potential carriers. Volunteer to order groceries for them or deliver them household essentials to ensure they have what they need on hand.
  • Set up online communication tools. Finding ways to keep your elderly loved one connected to the outside world will help impede negative feelings of isolation. Thankfully, in the 21st century, we have access to hundreds of resources that can keep us connected without in-person visitations. Take time out of your day to practice these communication technologies with your elderly loved ones and schedule virtual visits with them to establish a positive routine.
  • Encourage indoor hobbies. Putting together puzzles, reading books, drawing, knitting, cooking, baking, etc.—all of these indoor activities are great for seniors who want to stay active and involved in their day-to-day routines. Encourage these hobbies by sending them the tools that they need to conquer them!

grandparents social distancing

Most importantly, show and lead by example. Don’t visit friends and family who are at high risk  of contracting coronavirus (COVID-19) unless you are dropping off food or essentials. And even then, leave your package at the front door to minimize contact. Regularly reach out to seniors via video chat or phone call to remind them that they are loved!

Get Medical Care Delivered for Urgent Health Issues

When it comes to helping older adults receive the acute medical attention that they need, things can become a little bit more complex. That’s where DispatchHelath’s services can help. We are taking care of your loved one’s urgent health needs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by bringing medical care to their home. Doing this will help them avoid overcrowded healthcare settings and practice safe social distancing. 

DispatchHealth team with car and PPE

Our teams follow strict guidelines for entering and exiting patient homes, will dispose of all material used during patient care, and will thoroughly disinfect medical kits and cars between visits. In the event that your elderly loved one shows symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), note that our COVID-19 tests are ordered by providers based on a thorough evaluation—and those tests are reserved for individuals who are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. 

To learn more about how our in-home medical services can be beneficial to seniors with complicated health issues, contact DispatchHealth today

Sources

DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies. 

Sources referenced in this article: 

  1. https://theconversation.com/social-distancing-6-ways-to-help-older-adults-change-their-routines-134186
  2. https://www.avivaseniorlife.org/social-distancing-seniors-guide/
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

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