Adjusting to the ‘new normal’
COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work, and interact with one another. The pandemic caused a massive lifestyle change across the world. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, older adults suffered the most, especially the ones in nursing homes. The “new normal” of this pandemic requires adjustments at many levels, especially for healthcare professionals, family members, relatives, and caregivers of senior loved ones.
While everyone tries to adjust to the new normal in the wake of this pandemic, the guidance around physical distancing is now more important than ever. How can we make sure we adjust to the new life around us while considering the importance of physical distancing? And how can we help support our elderly population who is at high risk and most vulnerable to this disease?
Here are a few tips that can help caregivers and senior loved ones adjust to the ‘new normal’ after COVID-19:
Stay prepared and plan:
One of the most important things to do is to stay prepared. If your senior loved one is at a nursing care facility, you would want to make sure they are safe and secure. Family members and relatives can make daily well-being calls to the staff to see if their senior loved one’s needs are getting met. Do they require anything that could help them? If they are uncomfortable, are you prepared to bring them home? These are the conversations family members must have with one another.
There are many steps seniors and elderly can continue to take to protect themselves. Regular rituals should include hand washing, practicing good personal hygiene, making sure they remain away from crowds and keep physical distance from other people. Personal support workers and caregivers often must come into proximity with the seniors to help get them dressed.
Family members can invest in adaptive wear so dressing can be completed as hygienically as possible while maintaining physical distance. Open back functionality in clothes allow caregivers to dress their seniors with hygienic practices. Other adaptive features such as side open pants and magnetic shirts can make daily dressing struggles easier for seniors or those who need assistance in getting dressed.
Engage but practice social distancing:
It is crucial for seniors and elderly to stay active. Engaging in mentally stimulating activities, socializing, and staying physically active is important for maintaining optimal health. Methods and means of socializing have changed and now all activities include physical distancing while interacting with one another. Redesigning activity programs at nursing care facilities (and at home) will allow seniors to stay active and fit:
- Nursing home residents can participate in Zoom video exercises
- Seniors can engage in brain games and other mentally stimulating activities
- Going to local hiking areas for physically distant walks and strolls
- Engage in artistic and craft-based activities
Caregivers are great at planning because they must juggle multiple responsibilities at the same time. But with COVID-19, caregivers may want to be extra careful and cautious about managing unexpected health crises. Situations rapidly evolve when it comes to emergency situations and being proactive can help you manage the uncertainty of this time.
If you feel you need help in caring for your senior loved one, talk to your family members and come to a mutually beneficial decision. Find support in community centers or virtual conversations with your peers, friends, or relatives. Here are some more tips that can help caregivers manage this uncertain situation and stay prepared:
- Refill prescriptions for extended period
- Follow CDC for questions, concerns, tips and updates
- Find support for emergency situations
- Monitor your loved one’s health and stay in touch with the doctors
- Practice self-care and know your risk factors
- Choose telemedicine where necessary to avoid exposure
Would you like to share other tips for the new normal and how we can adjust? Leave a comment and let us know!