Make no mistake about it: COVID-19 can infect people of all ages.
However, older adults are proving to be more vulnerable to the new coronavirus.
Driving that point home is a report by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) that says people 50 years of age or older account for 95 percent of all American COVID-19 deaths. Many COVID-19 fatalities in the U.S. also occurred in nursing homes, according to the same report.
With the rising number of deaths in nursing homes due to the pandemic, it becomes even more imperative for those availing of home care for seniors to take all possible precautions necessary to lower the risk of COVID-19 infection.
More Intense Hygiene/Sanitation Practices
Even before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, in-home caregivers are already practicing proper hygiene when taking care of their patients.
With COVID-19 wreaking havoc, in-home caregivers are now compelled to take their hygienic practices to another level, especially when it comes to hand washing or sanitizing. They now must wash or sanitize their hands more frequently than they used to, all to ensure the safety of the seniors under their care.
The house will also require regular cleaning and sanitizing, especially the doorknobs, light switches, faucets, cabinets, phones, TV remotes, and other frequently touched surfaces.
Wearing of Face Masks
Wearing facemasks used to be optional for in-home caregivers.
Today, facemasks are mandatory for caregivers, regardless of the current state of their senior patients’ health.
Seniors are also being encouraged to wear them, although they don’t have to if doing so causes them breathing difficulties or distress.
Following Social Distancing Protocols
Social distancing isn’t much of an issue in a home care setting since the number of people involved is typically limited to the caregiver and the senior patient.
Since seniors are advised to limit trips outside their home while COVID-19 is still in full swing, their caregivers will be fully responsible for tasks like shopping for groceries, buying medications, paying bills, and going to the bank.
Still, caregivers will need to ensure that social distancing doesn’t make them feel socially isolated, which could affect their mental health.
Caregivers can teach and assist their elderly patients when using technological solutions like smartphones and communications platforms that help them stay in touch with their loved ones online.
In-home caregivers can also encourage the seniors under their care to go out occasionally for short periods as long as their current physical condition allows it. They must also take all the necessary precautions to prevent COVID-19 infection, from wearing a facemask or even a face shield to sanitizing their hands from time to time.
With the development and release of vaccines against COVID-19, things are bound to improve.
However, since it’s too early to determine their long-term efficacy and safety, seniors in home care will still need all the protection they can get, and it’s the responsibility of their in-home caregivers to ensure that all precautions against COVID-19 are in place.
Guest Blogger Sarah Keller is the Content Marketing Strategist of A To Z Home Care, a team of professional home care providers based in Phoenix, Arizona that specializes in long-term care for your loved ones. She enjoys riding horses and camping with her friends and family in her spare time.