Taking care of an aging parent is no simple task, but the spread of a global pandemic has made it even more complicated. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus and its symptoms, making it even more important to wear a mask and practice social distancing. That being said, how do these health and safety measures interfere with the care and community that older adults need? While there is a lot of uncertainty around how to care for an aging parent during COVID-19, you’re not alone. Here are three tips to help you continue to provide and plan for the best care possible for your loved one during this time.
Take Care of Your Health
If your parent is following social distancing guidelines, you might be one of the only people they come into contact with on a regular basis. This means it’s important to take care of your own health. Make sure you always follow CDC guidelines, including washing your hands, wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing. Try to make regular errands and chores as easy as possible for both you and your parent. Add their shopping list to yours so you can minimize the number of trips you take to the store. You can also get groceries and other essentials delivered to eliminate shopping errands altogether.
Social Distancing, Not Social Isolation
While social distancing is an important part of how to take care of an aging parent during COVID-19, it shouldn’t mean completely disconnecting from friends and loved ones. A sense of community is essential for your mental and emotional well-being. Staying in touch while social distancing might be more challenging, but it’s not impossible. Help your parent stay connected to their community by organizing phone calls or video calls with friends and family members. Many organizations have also switched to virtual meetings. If your parent regularly attended church, a book club, or a similar group, see if any of them have switched to online gatherings that you can join.
Don’t Put Off Decisions
With everything going on in the world right now, it’s easy to want to wait for a return to normal before making or even thinking about any life-changing decisions. However, putting off these conversations is never a good idea. If it’s time to start thinking about hospice care, senior communities, or other options for your parent, don’t ignore the decision. Know that you have options to take care of your parent and yourself during this time. Many senior care providers such as hospice agencies are utilizing telehealth and other services to give their patients the best care possible throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The sooner you discuss these decisions with your parent, the easier it’ll be to put them into action when the time comes.
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