Juan’s daughter Rosa was beside herself. Her father, 87 years old, lived in a nursing facility that was locked down last year due to the pandemic and she was unable to visit him for months. When the facility finally did open up to visitors, quarantines started all over again each time staff tested positive for COVID.
“I’m really worried that my father will go downhill again and stop eating, like he did last year when I couldn’t see him at all,” she told me. “Not to mention, I’m working two jobs now and it’s even harder for me to schedule time off to visit. Would you add an extra visit to keep eyes on what’s going on?”
Rosa’s fears were not unfounded. Lockdowns during the pandemic were very hard on seniors and their families, and restrictions on visitors have continued to vary by facility, even if residents have already been vaccinated. More than ever, families have come to rely on care managers to be their eyes and ears and coordinate care with their loved ones’ doctors. If the senior has a health crisis, we communicate with the medical team and update the family. If the senior has dementia or another chronic illness, we help the family make important decisions to plan and prepare for the future.
Navigating the healthcare system can be stressful and bewildering in the best of times, never mind during COVID! Right now high turnover rates and staffing shortages are widespread in long term care facilities across the country. Home care agencies and assisted living facilities are talking about the difficulty in finding and keeping staff. Unfortunately, this also means that patient care can suffer when fewer staff are available to tend to their needs. This is not a new problem but the pandemic made it much worse.
Care managers can’t solve the problem of understaffing in facilities, but we can advocate for your senior to get the right level of care, monitor what’s going on, and keep the family informed. We can offer guidance on selecting quality home care services and monitor care provided in-home as well to watch for issues or safety concerns. Just as important, we help family caregivers find solutions when they don’t know where to turn.
Now more than ever, a care manager’s experience and holistic approach can go a long way toward relieving a family’s stress, and assisting them in making thoughtful and informed caregiving decisions, every step of the way!
If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at 561-291-3699 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to assist!