The challenge of social distancing with seniors
The Avamere Family of Companies, providing assisted living, independent living, memory care, rehabilitation, home care, and skilled nursing across 20 states, knows the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges to seniors. Avamere serves primarily seniors, and this demographic in particular has experienced added challenges because of COVID-19. Seniors often live in isolation and need companionship. For those living in senior living communities, social distancing can be hard to navigate.
So, just how do we social distance with seniors during COVID-19?
Keep a social distance of six feet
Following CDC guidelines during COVID-19 is important. One of those guidelines is practicing social distancing and staying six feet apart. This helps reduce the spread of the coronavirus and thus gives seniors an added boost to stay safe. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that six feet is about two wheelchairs wide or two arms’ length.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC has advised that air circulation and ventilation is key to reducing the chance of contracting the coronavirus. Going outside and getting some fresh air has never been more important. Weather permitting, get outside for a walk, take a trip to a garden to admire the landscape, or simply sit on a patio. Just remember to remain six feet apart.
Set up a video chat
Staying in touch with friends and loved ones has taken on new importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seniors might have access to technology, or they might be technologically challenged. Setting up a video chat is a great way for them to connect with others while remaining socially distant.
Be sure to clean and sanitize the area you will use for the chat, as well as the device. When in public spaces, remain six feet apart and wear masks.
When social distance is not an option
For some seniors, particularly ones in long-term care communities or senior living communities, remaining socially distant is not an option. Their care may require a nurse or other healthcare worker to be close and provide assistance. Additionally, they might need help getting in and out of bed or bathing.
All healthcare workers in Avamere communities go through a series of wellness and cleaning protocols to ensure safety in these situations. But what should a family member or friend do that is providing help to a senior? Before administering care, wash your hands, wear a clean set of clothing, wear surgical gloves, and, of course, wear a mask or face shield.