COVID- 19 has heightened our awareness of senior health and safety. Even though there has always been consideration for the seniors in our lives, the bar has been raised. The care levels have reached beyond health care providers and caregivers. It really put family, neighbors, and friends on a level of alert that is unprecedented.
The need for Aging Life Care Managers® became a value-added service available to families with aging parents. They are a great resource year-round, but can focus in on the specific needs where health and safety are concerned through holidays, seasons or health events.
Keeping your senior loved one healthy and safe through the holidays will bring challenges depending on their current health and location. You will have to communicate and evaluate if there are concerns with mobility, memory, or general health. It will be fantastic if you are able to visit in person regularly. Your care manager plays an important role in determining where your loved one is in their unique journey, creating a plan of care, and then managing the care decisions you make, including making that visit to doctors, dentists, or other professionals for you. And they are happy to communicate the outcomes of the visit to you upon leaving.
Here are some tips to get you started to mentally and physically to keep your senior loved one safe and healthy through the holiday.
- Do they need a special diet? Dietary concerns may have changed since you last cooked for them so offerings need to be considered when meal planning. They may need a diabetic diet, may have recent doctor’s orders, or even may have trouble with swallowing. If they reside in assisted living or memory care this is taken care of where they live but if they are at your home for a holiday visit planning is needed.
- Do they have a place they can rest or get away from the noise? Lights and sounds can be jarring so it is good to have a quiet, comfortable place to rest.
- Are they protected from the latest viruses? Not everyone is vaccinated and even when vaccinated many have still caught COVID, so having your loved one wear an N95 mask may be their best defense. This may be a sensitive conversation with family and guests, so be prepared and know what guidelines you want to set and enforce. Communicate this before the day of the event so that there is no arguing.
- Other ways to keep the house protected. Provide hand sanitizer, masks, and encourage hand washing for everyone in attendance of the holiday event. Depending on the weather you might be able to crack a couple of windows for the fresh air.
- Preventing falls. Keep clutter to a minimum to reduce the chance of a fall, especially if your loved one uses a walker. Keep in mind this is not just a concern for the seniors in the house.
- Hydration is important for everyone. Always important to keep hydrated, clean fresh water is the best option. Limit alcohol intake for all adult quests, including the senior loved one. Not because there is a problem, but because it could result in undesired behavior or incidents.
- Play simple games that are not too complicated or competitive. Get the whole family to play together and include aging members as appropriate. Laughter is good for the soul and games bring out the best laughter.
Even if your senior loved one cannot attend, be sure to check on them to enquire if they have any plans or are expecting guests. Get a feel for their mindset, are they joyful, lonely, depressed, confused, or had a recent health event causing mobility issues. Your care manager can play a major role in reassuring your senior loved one and the family, seeing everyone through the holiday safely and in good health. They are prepared to visit in home, or in a managed facility, utilizing their professional knowledge backed by their certifications to make recommendations short- and long-term.
If you want to learn about what an Aging Life Care Manager® can do for you, please give us a call at 561-291-3699 or email us at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to assist!