The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of our daily lives in many ways, but seniors have been hit particularly hard. According to the CDC, people over 65 years of age are in a high-risk group for coronavirus. Due to the increased risk, many seniors and their families now are facing difficult situations. To stay safe, seniors must be even more vigilant with social distancing, which only makes it increasingly complicated to handle their living environment and care.
Group environments like assisted living are actually still a valid option for many seniors who cannot remain at home. Assisted living communities are taking safety precautions very seriously, which actually makes them a safer option for many seniors.
Strict Safety Measures
Since coronavirus spreads so easily from person to person, community living is a place where it can thrive and infect many. Without any proper precautions, assisted living communities would be very risky for seniors. However, these communities have overwhelmingly embraced all of the policies and recommendations from the CDC for preventing, controlling, and treating COVID-19. Some of these measures include:
- Educating employees on COVID-19 and associated policies.
- Follow strict infection control procedures and protocol every day.
- Reinforce hand hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment.
- Sick leave policies.
- Screen employees prior to each shift.
- Restrict visitation and implement alternative methods.
- Create separate space to monitor and treat residents with COVID-19.
- Cancel group activities.
- Remind residents of social distancing and hand hygiene.
Made for the Elderly
Unlike apartment complexes or other community living environments, assisted living facilities are specifically designed for seniors. Therefore, assisted living communities are aware of their at-risk residents and the important steps they must take. Additionally, these facilities have the best resources to care for and treat the elderly with or without COVID-19. Aside from protection from coronavirus, assisted living facilities also provide seniors with the necessary care they need to stay as healthy and strong as possible.
Challenges of Keeping Seniors Safe at Home
It is difficult to match the strict policies assisted living communities are embracing in a home. While you may be wary of moving your senior into assisted living at this time, but it is often the safer option. Since the coronavirus is easily spread, it poses a high risk for seniors, especially those with underlying health conditions. If someone in your family picked up the virus while getting groceries, they may pass it on to the senior in your home, even if that person is not experiencing symptoms. Assisted living communities have the team and resources to follow all recommended procedures for preventing the virus, and these measures are very difficult to do on your own to the degree that your senior needs. However, you can still do your part to limit the spread by:
- Keeping your hands away from your face
- Limiting contact with others, especially family or friends with symptoms
- Following proper handwashing techniques
- Covering your mouth and noise, especially while caring for a senior
- Maintaining a distance of at least six feet in public
- Cleaning and disinfecting commonly used objects and surfaces, including your phone
Who Should Consider Assisted Living During Coronavirus?
For many seniors, assisted living is still the right choice. Seniors who require the care of assisted living should still live in these communities during COVID-19. People who should consider assisted living include:
- Those already residing in assisted living.
- Seniors who need help with daily living activities like bathing, dressing, and eating.
- Seniors who may need urgent attention for a medical condition.
- Seniors living with family members who are unable to practice social distancing due to their job or with family members who traveled internationally in the last two weeks.
- Seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or memory impairment that makes it difficult for them to follow hygiene protocol.
- Seniors living alone with a serious medical condition.
Is Assisted Living Always the Right Option?
Assisted living communities are an excellent option for many seniors during this time. However, it is not the right fit for every person. Some seniors may actually need alternative care options. Seniors who may thrive in a different environment include:
- Seniors who have shown any symptoms of the coronavirus or any other illness. To protect others, seniors with any symptoms must wait until medically cleared.
- Seniors who need very limited help or only need temporary help may prefer home care.
- Seniors who have a support system that is able to fully practice social distancing.
Find the Right Assisted Living with CarePatrol
Assisted living is one of the safer options right now for seniors because of the vigilance these centers are taking to protect their residents. However, finding the right assisted living community is critical. You must find an assisted living community that is following all CDC and local government regulations while also providing the right environment and care.
Finding the right assisted living community is always a bit stressful, but it can be even more challenging during these times. CarePatrol is here to help. We have the knowledge and experience to help you find the safest senior living option. At no cost to you, we will conduct a detailed assessment to ensure you or your family member finds the right senior living environment. Find your local CarePatrol senior advisor HERE.