With assisted living facilities becoming hotspots for the spread of the COVID-19 virus, are you feeling uneasy that you or a loved one is currently residing in a facility? The coronavirus has taken us all by surprise, causing many assisted living facilities to shut out unessential visitors for the safety of the staff and residents.This unfortunately means that the residents are isolated alone inside the facility, practicing social distancing from the staff and their neighbors in the facility as well. Are you considering moving yourself or a loved one out of an assisted living facility due to the effects of COVID-19? Here are some alternatives to assisted living, as well as their pros and cons compared to facilities:
Living With Family Members
Some adult children and their aging parents agree that it makes the most sense for the senior(s) to reside with the family full-time.
- It is cheaper than assisted living facilities – Assisted living facilities charge a monthly living fee (essentially monthly rent), so by opting to live with their adult children, they are avoiding that monthly fee.
- The senior may feel safer at home – Seniors often feel safer when trusted family members are completing their every-day tasks for them, such as cooking, refilling medications, and taking them to and from doctor appointments and errands, such as grocery shopping.
- It is possible that the senior will feel more comfortable at home – Everyone feels more relaxed when in their own home, including aging adults. Knowing that it will be their own family members caring for them, as opposed to unfamiliar faces, may also make the transition smoother for all.
- Family members also need time to care for their own family - Going to work, taking the children to school and activities, as well as taking care of personal responsibilities may get in the way of time spent caring for the senior living with them. In assisted living facilities, the staff is there to focus on the seniors 24/7, and care for their every need.
- The senior may become bored at home – Assisted living facilities coordinate activities for residents almost daily, including crafts, snacks, and entertainment. Being at home all day may limit the senior’s ability to stay engaged with the outside world and they may start to feel lonely, isolated, or bored as the days go by.
In-home caregiving, including medical and non-medical, may be a viable option for you, or the aging adult in your life.
- It may pose a lower cost than assisted living facilities – Here at CAB, we offer a full range of caregiving services, from traditional caregiving to an independent care approach based on tasks, not time. This means you only pay for the care you need, when you need it. Depending on the level of care needed, this could eliminate paying for 24/7 care in an assisted living facility when it is not always necessarily needed.
- It is more convenient for when it comes to errands - In-home caregivers can do things such as go to the grocery store for you, pick up your medications at the pharmacy, and take you to visit family members or friends. Most assisted living facilities do not offer this form of transportation.
- Medical in-home care can come in your home and do things such as check blood sugar levels, refill and monitor medications, and assist with wound care. This means you can receive medical care in the comfort of your own home, without exposure to others.
- It may be difficult to coordinate all your in-home services - Because most in-home caregiving companies only offer medical or non-medical services, you may have to hire a variety of caregivers depending on your level of needs. Some may view assisted living facilities coordinating all of this for you as a better option.
- Some older adults may not feel safe with employees coming into their house – Seniors may feel more secure in a protected assisted living facility with the facility’s employees, as opposed to in-home caregivers coming and going from their house every day (some feel this is compromising their independence and privacy).
Whether you choose an assisted living facility or in-home care, Care Management can help you put a plan in place for COVID-19:
- Care Management is highly focused on crisis management – Crisis management is something every aging adult needs some help with. CAB offers a Care Management service that is specifically for COVID-19 planning. We will go over contingencies, and help you create a plan specific to your situation. This may include what to do if you or your loved one gets sick, what to do if someone else in the household (e.g., spouse or a paid caregiver) gets sick, and what to do if the primary family caregiver (co-residing or not) gets sick.
- Care Management also goes above and beyond crisis management – We can aid in creating a plan to protect you or your loved one. This includes staying supplied, connected and monitored, as well as how to prevent social isolation and depression.
- Care Managers can advocate for you within the healthcare system – Care Managers can help decide when, or whether, to go to the hospital, depending on goals of care and availability of hospice staff and family to support end-of-life at home. If the aging adult already has a DNR, is the hospital where they want to die? That’s a tough call, and it may not be a decision you want to discuss. Care managers can provide this support, including talking with a social worker and perhaps telehealth palliative care consult.
We understand this is an unsettling time for all, and we don’t exactly know what the future will hold. You don’t have to do this alone. CAB will continue to serve with compassion and integrity through this time of uncertainty and crisis. If you need assistance with the tasks of daily living, errands, meal prep, grocery ordering, medication management, or help navigating this crisis from a professional nurse Care Manager, call us at (865) 444-6787. For additional resources and ways to remain healthy during this time, click here for CAB’s blog website.
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