There’s no denying just how hard it is to look after one’s aging parents during normal situations. Make it a pandemic such as COVID-19 and the challenges just double in a snap, particularly for those who work remotely and have to care for a senior parent personally.
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) revealed that the risk of being hospitalized or dying when found positive for COVID-19 greatly increases with age. In fact, 8 in every 10 COVID deaths are adults aged 65 and older, the agency revealed further.
However, such figures should not stop you from caring for your aging parents altogether; instead, you should still try your best to make them safe and comfortable amid such a crisis.
If you’re struggling to think of ways how to do just that, here are some tips on how you can take care of your senior parents without exposing them to COVID-19 risks:
If your aging parents live in an assisted-living facility, you should invest in an internet-capable device and find ways to teach them how to use it (or ask the staff to assist them). The same is true if your parents are aging at home in their place and separate from your residence.
No matter what the circumstance, the idea is to ensure that you’ll regularly do voice and video calls to check how your parents are doing. This will let them know that you care for them despite the distance, which would help ease whatever worries they have due to the crisis.
Place them in a trusted senior care facility.
If it’s not possible to have your parents live with you or if they don’t have a house of their own, the best option you have is to entrust them to a reputable senior nursing home. Such a facility has trained senior care personnel who can make your parents’ stay comfortable, safe, fun, and productive. Senior homes also have facilities that one can see in a typical residential property, so your parents won’t feel strange living there.
Run errands for them whenever possible(or find a workaround if not feasible).
Your senior parents should not go outside to buy their own medicines, clothes, and food. They should not unnecessarily expose themselves to the risk of COVID-19 transmission to secure their essential needs given how vulnerable they are to the fatal illness.
As such, be sure to find time to run errands for your aging parents, so they’ll be spared from such potential exposure. If you have a busy schedule or any other reason that bars you from personally doing so, you can just order for your parents whatever they need. There are plenty of delivery services these days that you can contact to arrange for the shopping and delivery of your parents’ regular medication and food, as well as clothing.
Spend time with them.
No matter how much busy your schedule may be, you should have time each month at the very least to bond with your parents and be there for them. While your efforts in absentia already mean a lot to them, your physical presence means even deeper.
Knowing this, be sure to clear at least a day from your schedule to visit your parents and bond with them for an entire day. They’ll surely be happy to see you and spend time with you, which would give them peace and a sense of belonging despite the uncertainties around.
Observe social distancing and other COVID-19 safety protocols in your home.
If your parents live with you, it’s important to always observe COVID-19 safety protocols endorsed by government agencies. These include frequent hand washing and sanitizing, wearing of masks, deliveries instead of physical purchases, disinfection of touchpoints (door handles and handrails) and deliveries (non-food items), and social distancing.
You should also limit visitors or bar them for the time being, as well as disallow your parents’ request to go out. This might be hard for both of you but it’s a necessary precaution that you have to do if you don’t want to compromise your parents’ health and safety.
Boost their immune systems.
Old-age individuals are at a much higher risk of succumbing to COVID-19 than healthy, young people. Given this predisposition and inherent vulnerability, you should strive to counter it by boosting your senior parents’ immunity.
You can do so by giving them healthy food, encouraging them to do light exercises, and providing them with vitamins and immune-boosting food supplements. You could also house your parents in a home that is close to nature and away from pollution to help give them a sense of peace amid a troubling time.
With these tips, looking after your parents and helping them survive this pandemic should be relatively easier on your part.