COVID-19 and Caregiving
COVID-19 has dramatically shifted daily life for many people around the world. Nobody is immune, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and older adults and individuals with chronic health conditions are at higher risk of getting very sick from the Coronavirus.
To protect vulnerable individuals, many nursing homes or assisted living facilities are banning outside visitors temporarily in hopes of limiting residents’ exposure to someone who may be infected with the virus. Additionally, many individuals who need care and are currently living in their own homes are feeling isolated and anxious about how to stay healthy and safe.
Caregiving is now taking center stage. With already more than 40 million unpaid family caregivers helping loved ones in the U.S., experts expect the virus to increase the number of people providing short-term or long-term care to an older or aging loved one.
AARP offers guidance to family caregivers with vulnerable family members, especially those who might be new to caregiving because of Coronavirus and its impacts on older populations.
Make it a team effort
While there may be one primary family caregiver, identify other family members, friends and neighbors who can check in or help with shopping and important errands. It’s important that the person you’re caring for doesn’t leave their home and stays out of public places.
Create a list with contact information of friends, family and services in your community that can help you perform key caregiving tasks. For example, find out if services such as Meals on Wheels can help deliver meals, or if there are other local services to help with food or medication delivery.
Inventory essential items
It’s important to figure out what you have so you can determine what you need. Inventory how much food, medication and basic supplies the person you’re caring for has currently. Then make a list of what you need and how often you need to replenish it.
Many older individuals often keep minimal extras on hand because they are on a strict budget and are used to regular grocery or medication refills. If possible, help them have a two-week supply of food, water, house cleaning supplies, and medical equipment.
Get medications in order
If you don’t already have one, create a list of medications, medical contacts, and important information like allergies for easy access. If there are upcoming non-emergency, routine medical appointments, reschedule those or, if possible, switch to a virtual visit to receive telemedicine.
Ask your pharmacist or health care provider if you’re able to have an extra 30-day supply of essential medications on hand. Don’t forget to stock up on over-the-counter medications like cough suppressants and fever-reducing drugs like acetaminophen.
With current social distancing recommendations, strict isolation will impact many older individuals. To keep connections strong, set up communication using a variety of technology such as FaceTime or Skype, smart speakers, or simply phone and text. Use these to stay connected with your caregiving team as well as your older or aging family members.
If your loved one lives in a long-term care facility, see if they have accommodations for online visits and how they plan to communicate with families. If they can’t support visits via technology, send in cards, letters, magazines, puzzles or other items you know your loved one would be grateful to receive. Talk with your facility management about the safest way to deliver items.
Maintain personal safety and self-care
In order to help slow the spread of Coronavirus, limit physical contact with others, stay in as much as you can and continue to follow guidelines from the CDC. While you are likely very focused on the person you’re caring for, it is essential to also care for yourself.
For high-risk individuals, such as those with dementia and underlying health conditions, consider having the primary caregiver self-isolate with the care recipient. Then, have a back-up plan if the primary caregiver becomes ill. It’s best to be proactive and not have to use plan B, rather than being caught off guard without options.
For more information about caregiving and important considerations in light of COVID-19, visit aarp.org/caregiving and aarp.org/coronavirus.
Coronavirus Concerns: Get 24/7 Chronic Care and Monitoring System
This is truly proving to be a once in a lifetime reaction to an illness! Worldwide we are witnessing quarantines, social distancing, food and supply shortages at grocery, overworked medical staff, shortages of medical supplies, and closed restaurants and shops. The physical, mental, emotional and economic impact of coronavirus concerns on all consumers and businesses will prove trying in the coming weeks. The most vulnerable group of people are seniors. Seniors in Nursing homes are not allowed to discharge. Visitation is significantly restricted. It is advised to not visit them at their homes if you are potentially exposed to the virus. Homecare agencies are being tasked with increasing their caregiving needs, however, they already have a shortage of staff before this! Visiting nursing agencies, who are attempting to provide that bridge of medical care to recently returning ill and seniors are being told to hold their visits for several weeks, or to discharge their customers entirely by family members.
This lack of monitoring for our most vulnerable is deeply concerning to professionals and to our loved ones! Remote monitoring of people is an option. Please consider the Electronic Caregiver’s Pro Health system. Pro Health is a comprehensive public health and safety monitoring system. Some of the reassuring features are:
-24/7 powering by Amazon Web Services and AT&T Wireless
-24/7 Health Emergency Wearable Pendant
-Monitored body temperature vital device and daily reminder
-Voice controlled virtual health assessment
-Monitored medication reminders
-24/7 physician on demand service-PocketMD
-Remote monitoring app for loved ones and professionals
Telemedicine such as Pro Health isn’t just a wonderfully convenient way to get the care needed, it’s also a way to slow or prevent the spread of COVID-19. Seniors don’t have to go wait for hours in clinics and ERs that are increasingly crowded due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They don’t risk catching COVID-19 from others – or spreading it. Pro Health helps them take care of their health. Electronic Caregiver® is right there with you, night and day. Those who need to know will be notified, and you will receive the excellent and professional monitoring that will give you true peace of mind.
This system is able to replace worry with care and is very low cost for the peace of mind offered.
Learn more about this system: https://agesafeamerica.com/coronavirus-get-24-7-chronic-care-and-monitoring/
Trying to contribute in small ways to keep our most vulnerable safe we have arranged a substantial savings on this system with Electronic Caregiver®. Age Safe® America is able to offer an additional 25% off this product for all individuals or businesses who obtain this system through the process below.
Age Safe® offers an additional 25% OFF the regular price above.
Stay Calm • Be Proactive • Age Safe®
Shipped right to your door!
1. CALL 603-263-4720 for Director of Technology
2. Remember to use Reference ID#: LSM54461
3. Age Safe® 25% Discount Code: “ECGSAVE25″
Providers CLICK HERE to Offer to Your Clients
As always, we are here to help. Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have!
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Going around the table asking family members what they’re thankful for may be a tradition in your household, and there are a number of reasons why doing so feels so good. Giving thanks, it turns out, has some major health benefits. Research has linked gratitude with an increase in self-esteem, resiliency and overall life satisfaction. It can also help you build new friendships and strengthen the relationships you already have. Researchers are investigating how positive emotions can lower disease and mortality in older adults. Even among people with serious illnesses like heart disease, those who practice gratitude tend to be less depressed than those who don’t.
Science has discovered that people who practice gratitude experience the following:
- Grateful people are 25% happier than those who do not practice gratitude.
- Being grateful and happy can add as much as 9 years to your life!
- When practicing gratitude, you will experience higher levels of positive emotions such as love, happiness, and optimism.
- By writing down thoughts of gratitude each day, you will have fewer illnesses because gratitude strengthens the immune system.
- Expressing gratitude will restore the natural rhythm of your heart.
- When we are grateful, we “bounce back” from stressful situations faster.
You can make gratitude part of your life by being thankful to those who help you, and by being mindful and appreciative of what’s important to you. Although it may feel strange to “practice” gratitude, over time it becomes a natural part of life. Don’t worry if gratitude doesn’t come naturally. In the same way you work out to build stronger muscles, you can also strengthen your gratitude muscle by
- keeping a gratitude journal or meditating briefly on what you’re grateful for
- concentrating on the good in your life
- reaching out to thank friends and family for being there, or for gifts or favors received
- starting a family gratitude ritual: have everyone list something they’re thankful for that day
- thanking strangers who have done something nice
Many Blessings from all of us here at Age Safe® America!
Falls Prevention Awareness Day!
The annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day raises awareness about how to prevent fall-related injuries among older adults. We have heard the statistics over and over. One in 3 Americans over the age of 65 will fall this year. One in 2 Americans over the age of 80 will fall this year. Falls account for 40% of nursing home admissions. It doesn’t have to be this way! As our population ages and the demographic studies tell us that the longevity for the current generations is greater than any other time in history, then this is the opportunity to change the statistics. Ten years from now, the fall rate among Americans can be significantly different. But in order to do so, we must take the action.
The social activism of the 60’s needs to translate into personal activism to maximize the independence and control we can exert in our lives. This generation took the action 50 years ago to affect military policy, civil rights and the creation of Older Americans Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are too many stories of people moving into assisted living communities or long-term care, not by choice but by necessity. We all know an individual, family member, friend, member of our social circle or faith community who has not had the chance to remain independent.
You must be the change you want to see in the world….Gandhi
Be the change—-get a professional home safety evaluation. A trained specialist can identify the opportunities and changes that we don’t see for ourselves. They may suggest to add the grab bars and motion lights, clear the pathways and make sure our entrances are safe and easy to navigate. (The extra benefit of a safe entrance is a safe exit during an emergency or natural disaster!) You can make an appointment get your eyes checked, mark your calendar and get it done! On the next visit, take your list of questions and review your meds with the doctor. Exercise can be as simple as a short walk or stretch or taking a class in person, by video or on TV.
We cannot look back and wish we had our home evaluated or our eyes checked.
Our future selves are relying on our taking the steps today to change the trajectory of our lives and change those awful, realistic statistics. Take a step today to Age Safe® and Live Well!
Change the Statistics, Make a Difference.
Plan for independence!
We all want to live safe, independent and comfortable, regardless of our age or ability. Unfortunately, many homes were not designed to give you freedom as you age. Whether you are living by yourself or with a family member, you can design your own additions or home modifications that will help you continue living independently. Trained advisors and qualified contractors are available to help you plan and create the safety, comfort and flexibility in the home that you want and need. Age Safe® Live Well.
Join NCOA for Falls Prevention Awareness Day 2019 events! #FPAD2019
Go4Life® is an exercise and physical activity campaign designed to help you fit exercise and physical activity into your daily life. Every September marks Go4Life Month and this year’s theme is Get Motivated! Get Moving! Go4Life! The overall goal of Go4Life Month is to promote the importance of regular physical activity as a key component of healthy aging. As a national partner, Age Safe® America helps the National Institute on Aging at NIH to promote the “Go4Life” exercise campaign and spread the word about the many benefits of exercise.
Exercise and physical activity are good for just about everyone, including older adults. No matter your health and physical abilities, you can gain a lot by staying active. In fact, in most cases you have more to lose by not being active. Most people tend to focus on one activity or type of exercise and think they’re doing enough. The goal, however, is to be creative and choose all four types of exercise – ENDURANCE. STRENGTH. BALANCE. FLEXIBILITY.
Happy Go4Life Month – Get Motivated! Get Moving! Go4Life!
This month is a great opportunity to encourage older adults to be active. If you haven’t made plans yet, there’s still time.
Use the suggested activities and Go4Life materials below to help older adults get motivated and moving during Go4Life Month this September.
Lots of Free Resources to spread the word!
– Check out the free online Go4Life Month Toolkit, with ideas for events and activities, social media messages, and more!
– Help us share and promote NIA’s NEW! Exercise Safety Videos for Adults 50+ during Go4Life Month. Through these videos, viewers will learn about selecting the right fitness shoes and clothes, staying safe while doing the 4 types of exercise, exercising safely in both hot and cold weather, exercising safely outdoors, and biking safely.
– Physical activity is an important part of healthy aging. Try these Go4Life workout videos to help you fit exercise and physical activity into your daily life. https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/workout-videos/
– And take a look at two new resources developed in collaboration with our partners: Walking Club Toolkit and Partner with Libraries Toolkit
Each year, more than 2 million older Americans go to the emergency room because of fall-related injuries. A simple fall can cause a serious fracture of the arm, hand, ankle, or hip. But don’t let a fear of falling keep you from exercising and being physically active. Overcoming this fear can help you stay active, maintain your physical health, and prevent future falls. The good news is that there are simple ways you can prevent most falls.
One of the most important ways to prevent falls is to stay physically active. Regular exercise makes you stronger. Weight-bearing activities, such as walking or climbing stairs, may slow bone loss from osteoporosis. Lower-body strength exercises and balance exercises can help you prevent falls and avoid the disability that may result from falling.
Balance exercises can help you prevent falls and avoid the disability that may result from falling. You can do balance exercises almost anytime, anywhere, and as often as you like, as long as you have something sturdy nearby to hold on to for support.
Age Safe® America was honored to provide input into the development of the Walking Clubs Toolkit. The Go4Life Walking Clubs Toolkit provides tips for those interested in starting and sustaining a walking club for older adults. The recommendations presented here were obtained from a variety of trusted sources at the National Institutes of Health, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Surgeon General, national and local Go4Life partners with expertise in developing and conducting walking clubs. A list of these resources may be found under the “Helpful Resources” https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/walking-clubs/helpful-resources section of this toolkit.
Happy Go4Life Month – Get Motivated! Get Moving! Go4Life!
On National Senior Citizens Day we celebrate the people who are part of the fastest-growing demographic in the world. According to the traditional definition, a senior citizen is anyone older than 60 years of age, but this seems relatively young in today’s society! This day was declared to celebrate, honor, and give thanks to all the contributions that generations of individuals have given to their families and communities. Whether it is showing gratitude for a loved one, friend, elder you care for, or close member of your community, take time on August 21st to reach out and show your appreciation.
On August 19th, 1988 President Ronald Reagan declared August 21st National Senior Citizens Day. Here is what he had to say: “For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older.” – President Ronald Reagan
Some great ways to do this could be:
- Taking your loved one out to the movies – everyone can appreciate a nice matinee!
- Creating a video of different family members discussing their favorite memories with the individual.
- Want to get your kids involved? Many local assisted living and nursing homes offer “adopt-a-grandparent” programs, linking up young children with seniors. This is a great way to not only get your kids involved with the community, but also inform them about the significance of Senior Citizens Day.
- Creating a personalized picnic with all their favorite foods.
- Treating your loved one to a nice meal out.
- Offering a helping hand with any small things they need done around the house.
- Something as simple as making a phone call to show how much you love and support them.
- Don’t have someone specifically in mind to celebrate? Volunteer at local assisted living homes or veterans homes.
If you are a senior citizen yourself, well, Senior Citizens Day is all about you. Live a little! Spend time with your favorite people. Treat yourself to an ice cream sundae. Knock something off your bucket list. Or just relax with friends and family. Do whatever floats your boat, because the day is dedicated to you! You’ve earned it!
Happy Senior Citizens Day!