Is it Safe to Move a Loved One Into Assisted Living or Memory Care During COVID?

Despite the great strides the healthcare community and medical professionals have made against COVID-19, there are still many uncertainties for those most vulnerable to the virus. The challenges are more than just physical for family members who are tasked with providing full-time home care to aging adults struggling with dementia or memory loss. It is a serious and stressful job as a caregiver to protect a loved one from possible exposure to the virus. However, the daily mental and emotional exhaustion on the caregiver is equally overwhelming.

Though there are assisted living facilities that provide supportive care for memory loss patients, many caregivers wonder about their loved one’s safety in a community setting during COVID-19. The requirements of aiding your loved one with activities like bathing, dressing, meal prep, and intellectual stimulation can be draining. It may be time to recognize that keeping your loved one at home is no longer the best option for you, your loved one, or the rest of the family.

A Safe Transition

The infectious nature of COVID-19 has complicated the delivery of special care services in assisted living communities and long-term care settings. Home health, assisted living, nursing homes, and dementia or Alzheimer’s care facilities have had to take special precautions and implement strict safety standards to protect society’s most vulnerable populations. The age and medical conditions associated with residents require stricter procedures out of an abundance of caution. For this reason, it is probable that you will not be able to physically enter a care facility to inspect and assess its potential for housing your loved one.

However, you can still evaluate a facility without going inside. You don’t want a big decision like this made overnight, so take your time looking at the different memory care facilities around your area. For individuals with dementia, you should look for a community-based setting that is designed specifically for those dealing with memory loss. There are unique challenges that the staff and caregivers are trained to identify and support.

A Safe Setting

Both the Center for Disease Control and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released clear guidelines to care facilities that will help mitigate the virus’s spread. At Caring Places Management, the safety of all current and future residents is a high priority. The guidelines continue to be followed and inform each decision made for the residents of the community, though our team is also proactive in testing both staff and residents for possible exposure. Visitation continues to be limited to further protect our residents and your family members. Despite the additional steps taken to ensure our residents remain physically healthy, our staff continues to deliver the highest quality of care in each area of daily living for every resident.

Safe Support

Those who work in long-term care or community-based facilities have had to adapt to the changes COVID-19 brought to continue maintaining safe, quality care for their residents. For many caregivers, the CDC’s emergency preparedness guidelines have helped establish the new standard of care for people living with dementia during the outbreak. At Caring Places Management, we have taken the following guidelines seriously and adapted our routines to make our residents safe especially during COVID.

  1. Working to prevent illness: Those living with dementia often need continual reminders to thoroughly wash their hands and apply hand sanitizer. Caregivers are instrumental in providing these reminders and assisting. Caregivers also remind residents to cover their mouth or nose when sneezing and coughing. Caring Places Management has also made masks and other sanitization resources available. Residents must also be consistent with their medication schedule, which the staff at the facility carefully monitor. Social distancing compliance and hygiene practices that may be impacted by impaired memory or judgment are critical points of instruction and assistance for caregivers.
  2. Providing individual care: The Alzheimer’s Association promotes person-centered care as the most effective care for dementia patients. During the pandemic, staff continues to follow this recommendation, though social distancing and visitor restrictions may mean the staff take on a more personal role in the absence of family. Each staff member has access to the specific information needed to help residents feel safe and comfortable, whether knowing an individual’s hobbies or interests or family or friends’ names to communicate reassurances. At Caring Places Management, our staff informs families about their loved ones, keeping you in the loop despite the distance.
  3. Pursuing holistic strategies: Patients with dementia may have difficulty adapting to changes in routine or environment, so caregivers must watch for signs of depression, reduced food or liquid intake, or strange behaviors that include wandering or agitation. A healthy diet will help residents maintain their strength during this time, but activities and intellectual stimulation are still critical for providing a sense of routine or normalcy for residents. Caregivers are trained to recognize signs of discomfort, overstimulation, negative emotions, or communication struggles. With the consult of family and the appropriate medical professionals, treatments or interventions may be recommended.

A Safe Choice

It can be difficult for you to provide your loved one with the quality of care while also trying to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. Caring Places Management provides a safe opportunity for your loved one to receive the best care possible at every level. This peace of mind is priceless, as is your loved one’s health and safety.

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