Since our elderly are at greater risk to COVID-19 (coronavirus), you may be worried about your loved one living in a senior community. You’re right to be concerned. As of Friday, March 20, more than a quarter of the American lives lost to COVID-19 were people living in senior living communities.
Let’s talk about how we can support our loved ones and what elder care communities are doing in the face of this crisis. It will take all of us working together to see our loved ones through this outbreak.
Why Can't I Visit My Loved One in Assisted living?
Texas Health & Human Services (HHS) has issued guidelines for nursing homes and assisted living communities that restrict access to only staff, medical professionals, and providers of essential services. These precautionary measures are intended to reduce the chances of introducing COVID-19 to resident populations.
This means visitors are not allowed except in some compassionate care cases for people who are at the end of their life. These visits are up to the discretion of the facility.
While it’s stressful not to be able to visit our loved ones during these trying times, it is the best way to reduce the risk of introducing a deadly disease to an extremely vulnerable population.
What Are Senior Communities Doing to Curb the Spread of COVID-19?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released detailed guidelines for senior communities to follow that should help curb the spread of COVID-19. A few of their recommendations include:
Restrict visitation apart from some compassionate care situations
Restrict all volunteers and non-essential healthcare personnel
Cancel all public or non-essential group activities and events
Offer take-out and shelf-stable meals options as alternatives to communal dining
Implement active screening for staff and residents to check for fevers and coughs
When Is It Safe To Visit My Loved One Again?
Governor Greg Abbott's executive order suspends non-essential activity and limit gatherings to 10 people; Texas Human and Health Services provides more detailed guidelines in their March 16 letter. As of Sunday, March 29, 2020, the federal government extended social distancing guidelines until April 30.
And until then, consider instead connecting with your loved ones via phone call, email (and e-greeting cards), letters and video call options if possible.
Will My Loved One Still Get the Care They Need?
Most senior communities are limiting the number of staff to only those essential for the health and safety of their residents. This adjustment should not effect the daily routine of many seniors. Community residents who bring in additional outside help for specific tasks should check with the facility to fully understand its specific policies.
At Senior Living Specialists Houston, we are here to stand by you during this unprecedented and challenging time. We are strongest together as a community. Please feel free to reach out with any concerns, and we will do our best to help you ask the right questions and navigate the COVID-19 regulations as they related to our seniors.
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