As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across America, the danger continues to rise for especially vulnerable populations such as those with underlying medical conditions and those who are older.
It is estimated that about 1.3 million Americans live in nursing homes and more than half of those people are over the age of 75. It is important that we take care of this extremely at-risk population and we can do so by taking note of the following ways we can improve elderly care during this time.
Reduce Risk of Infection and Respecting the Rules
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, data from China indicates that the majority of cases of COVID-19 were found in older people in China. They also had the highest risk of succumbing to respiratory illness. This makes preventing infection in this aged population imperative.
If you are caring for an elderly person in your home, be sure to follow all the advised health and sanitation guidelines set out for COVID-19 and try to avoid contact with people as much as possible. If you do need to leave your residence for any reason, try to take all the necessary safety precautions, such as wearing a face mask, and keep a space of 6 feet between you and others.
If you have an elderly relative who lives in a nursing home, it is important that you balance visiting them during this stressful time and keeping social distancing rules in place. If you cannot visit in person, make sure you keep in regular contact with them and try to keep them active in your family remotely through the use of technology such as Skype. Keep in contact with the carers at the nursing home in order to check in on their mental and physical health during this time and always respect the rules of the institution.
Evaluate Care Plans
Care plans are a summary of a person’s existing health conditions, medications, emergency contacts, healthcare providers, and end-of-life care options. These care plans should be updated regularly. Ensuring the elderly people in your life have recently updated or been assisted in updating their care plan for the pandemic is a key step in ensuring they receive the help they need.
Care plans can improve overall medical management for people with existing medical conditions and reduce hospitalization and emergency room visits by giving carers a full picture of the state of that resident’s health, so be sure that an updated care plan reaches the person who is caring for the elderly person in your life.
Help them Stay Calm and Comfortable
Whether you are caring for an elderly person in your home or they are living in a nursing home, it is important to remember that they will be living with a considerable amount of stress and anxiety during this time. Being part of a group that is especially vulnerable, with 8 out of 10 deaths reported in the US has been in adults aged 65 and older, we should try and assist in relieving their anxiety as much as possible.
In terms of day-to-day care, try to make sure they are comfortable in their living space, they are eating the right foods to stay as healthy as possible, and that they are getting adequate amounts of sleep as it is a well-documented fact that quality sleep is essential to maintain good physical and mental health. Ensure the bed and mattress that they will be spending considerable amounts of time on are suitable for their needs and if you feel you may need to replace it soon, then be sure to check out mattresses on sale for Memorial Day.
As infection numbers grow, make sure that you do all you can to avoid infecting vulnerable populations with COVID-19, and make sure you are prepared for a worst-case scenario. Stay informed, communicate, and stay safe.