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4 Tips for Caregivers Supporting Loved Ones During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stressful time for everyone, but if you serve as the primary caregiver for a senior or disabled loved one, you’ve probably spent the past few months worrying about how you can keep them safe. And if your loved one’s health was already in decline, this pandemic has likely exacerbated your anxiety over their worsening condition. 

How can you be the caregiver that your loved one needs during this trying time, especially if they are struggling with underlying medical conditions? These tips will help you meet their needs and make the right choices for their health care. 


Long-Term Care Decisions

Perhaps you’ve been thinking about bringing your loved one home from their assisted living home. Or, maybe you’re hoping to find a premier assisted living community like The Gables that will still safely care for your loved one, despite the current risks. It’s tough to make long-term care decisions in the face of a global public health crisis. Contact your loved one’s doctors and other healthcare providers to hear their thoughts. They will have valuable input that can guide you in the right direction and help you figure out where your loved one will be safest. 


Understanding Medicare

Whether you want your loved one to stay home or move to an assisted living community, you need a thorough understanding of Medicare to ensure they can pay for the care they need. If you feel that your loved one does not have adequate coverage, you will have to start making plans to help them change it. However, this can only be done during Medicare’s Annual Election Period, which takes place from October 15 through December 7. 

To prepare for the AEP, make a checklist in advance so that your loved one has all of the documentation they need to make changes to their Medicare plan. You will need to organize lots of paperwork, including their current Medicare card and a thorough, up-to-date list of their healthcare providers and any medications they take. It can take time to track down all of the necessary information, so it’s important to get started early.


Stick with a Hygiene Protocol

Although many states are rolling back stay-at-home orders, COVID-19 still poses a very serious health threat for seniors without the vaccine and people with certain ailments. With your loved one’s health declining, you will need to continue disinfecting your home frequently if they are living with you. Children’s Health recommends double-checking that all disinfectants you use are certified to kill the coronavirus. 

If someone in your house becomes ill, self-isolating can save your elderly loved ones’ lives. Keep an eye out for COVID-19 symptoms that are more common in seniors; these include confusion, fatigue, or a loss of appetite. Pay close attention to your loved one’s medication schedule, as missing a dosage at this time could be extremely risky.


Discuss Final Wishes

It isn’t easy to discuss your loved one’s final wishes when you know that their health is in decline, but this difficult conversation is an important one to have nonetheless. Choose a convenient time to talk, and be patient with your loved one; they may feel very emotional during this exchange. Listen closely and allow them to lead the conversation. If your loved one is not capable of having this discussion, it is time to go over their will and familiarize yourself with their requests.

Being a caregiver already entails a high level of responsibility, and during this pandemic, you’ve ended up with even more on your plate. Keeping up with tasks like managing your loved one’s Medicare plan, making major decisions in regards to long-term care, and disinfecting your home each day can be challenging. If it all becomes too overwhelming, assisted living and memory care can have such a positive impact on your and your loved one’s health and well-being.

The Gables assisted living communities to provide compassionate and personalized care for our residents. Schedule a virtual tour today!

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