For those who are concerned about aging parents, COVID-19 has brought an entirely new level of anxiety. How can loved ones stay safe from a virus that is more dangerous for seniors? How do you prevent social distancing from turning into isolation, which can be harmful for an older person’s physical and mental health? Being a caregiver for an aging loved one was stressful enough before the pandemic, and now many adult children are taking on shopping, errands, and other tasks for their parents while also working from home and managing remote schooling for young children.
As the pandemic sweeps the world, both organizations and individuals have been forced to adjust their practices and behaviors in so many ways. “Normal” looks very different now than it did only a short while ago and will only continue to change for all of us. In this environment, the highest quality senior living communities have adapted quickly and responsibly. Those that do it best, are more than ever, some of the safest and most fulfilling places for an older adult to live. While moving into a senior living community during a global pandemic could be perceived as a challenging decision, we believe now may be the smartest time to make that move.
Many caregivers such as home health aides are still caring for seniors and going inside patient’s homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus has changed the way caregivers think about interacting and socializing with others.
Home health and visiting nurse agencies provide health care services in a home for an illness, injury, or chronic illness that needs monitoring. Throughout the pandemic, many people are questioning whether having someone else is their home is the right decision. For those who need skilled medical care, like feeding tubes or wound care, they may not have a choice. And staying on top of a chronic condition can help prevent unnecessary hospitalizations, which bring their own increased risk of exposure to COVID-19.
This is an unusual and difficult time we are living in. The threat of becoming sick with COVID-19, grief over losing loved ones, and necessary social distancing are challenging us like never before. If you’re not feeling like your usual self – maybe more anxious or worried, sleep changes, appetite change, trouble concentrating – this is a normal reaction.
Here are some ideas that seniors and people of all ages can use to help you cope during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Connect with at least one other person each day, by phone or video call. Staying in touch with others is one of the best things you can do for yourself – and you might even make someone else’s day by calling them.
February is American Heart month, which makes it a great time to make changes that can improve the health of your heart. As a geriatrician at Center Communities of Brookline, I’m thrilled when patients want to make changes to positively impact their health, especially the health of the heart. Cardiovascular disease (which includes heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure) continues to be the number 1 killer of men and women in the U.S. This amazing organ needs to be protected and properly cared for to remain healthy for years to come.
When winter weather hits us with cold and icy conditions, it’s no surprise that many of us can feel isolated or lonely. What may be surprising is that social isolation and loneliness can have negative health consequences, especially for older adults.
Recent National Institute for Aging research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of diseases and conditions, including heart disease, depression, cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, some research suggests that chronic loneliness may shorten life expectancy just as much as smoking.
Do the short days and icy sidewalks get you down at this time of year? Turns out you’re not alone. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is estimated to affect 10 million Americans – and yes, most live in places far from the equator, like New England. For many seniors, especially those who live alone, the winter months can bring on a lesser form of SAD – the winter blues.
For more than a century, Hebrew SeniorLife has provided exceptional care and services to seniors across the Boston area. Today, we’re redefining every aspect of aging for the better. At our health care and senior living communities, learning and discovery never stops in a stimulating and dynamic environment. There is no stopping our residents who remain active and engaged, no matter where they live, and truly continue to be their best self.
Meet four residents who embody our approach to care.
Sometimes the holidays can be a difficult time for parents and relatives, and it can be hard to see our loved ones struggling. If they’re beginning to get lonely or are having trouble living independently, the holidays can become a tough and stressful time – for everyone.
Tara Fleming-Caruso, collaborative care advisor at NewBridge on the Charles, a Hebrew SeniorLife continuing care retirement community, offers some advice on how to make the holiday season enjoyable while still honoring the needs of your aging loved one.
Q: What are some ways we can include our aging parents in holiday celebrations?
Sometimes our aging parents or loved ones need more care and guidance, but it can be challenging to speak to your employer about how to manage increased caregiver needs. How do you balance the needs of your loved one and make sure you are fulfilling your responsibilities at work?
More than one in six people living in the United States working full-time or part-time are helping with the care of an aging parent, family member, relative, or friend, according to a Gallup poll.