As things start to open back up after the Covid-19 lockdown, it can be challenging and even a little confusing when trying to navigate back to some semblance of normalcy. It is pretty clear things won’t be going back to being exactly the way the were anytime soon, if ever.
So, what is next for older adults that require daily assistance with tasks and activities?
Family caregivers have been stepping up big time to provide help for elderly relatives during these trying times. Many of the security measures put in place to combat the spread of Covid-19 have adversely affected care programs and services that seniors have come to rely on for regular support.
Senior Care Programs
Programs like adult day care have been forced to close due to social distancing restrictions and have left many older adults struggling to fill in the gaps.
Adult day care programs support seniors in a variety of ways, like:
- Offering fun and engaging activities
- Mental stimulation
- Physical exercise
- Learning opportunities
- Nutritious snacks and meals
- Health checks and monitoring
- Medical services
- Dementia care
With services being limited or unavailable, many older adults have been searching for viable alternatives.
Family Caregivers of British Colombia
The Family Caregivers of British Colombia is an organization dedicated to helping family caregivers manage the demands and concerns of caring for a loved one.
The Office of The Seniors Advocate BC has just provided this organization with $500,000 in funding to help deal the strain Covid-19 has had on the senior community. Both caregivers and seniors can visit the Family Caregivers of British Colombia website for information and assistance, as well as virtual support.
Also, over 5000 volunteers have offered to provide additional support for the 211 help line, which provides another option for virtual assistance in matters of community and social services, and non-clinical health assistance.
Challenges of Returning to a Regular Routine
Active cases of Covid-19 around the province have dropped off considerably, and now people are looking for ways to get back into a comfortable and productive routine.
Some difficulties that may impede this transition could be:
- Economic strain
- Lingering emotional effects from social isolation
- Health risks
- Getting assistance and support
People all over the planet have been reeling from the financial impact Covid-19 has left in its wake. Seniors that were working before the pandemic struck may have lost their jobs or have been laid off. Many people are struggling for options to find their way back into the workplace, which will be even more difficult for seniors.
With a massive increase in the volume of applications for current job openings, employers are likely to go with younger candidates, making it more problematic for seniors wishing to re-enter the workforce.
This period of social isolation may also have put a strain on seniors retirement savings.
Lingering Emotional Effects of Social Isolation
The mandatory isolation period implemented to curtail the spread of the coronavirus may have lasting emotional effects. Prolonged isolation can lead to loneliness, which can in turn result in increased anxiety and depression.
Even before this pandemic occurred, seniors were at a higher risk of social isolation due to shrinking social circles, mobility issues, and transportation complications. During the pandemic, seniors were under the greatest pressure to adhere to social distancing regulations because the effects of the illness hit their age group the hardest.
Getting back into a regular social routine may take some time and support.
Older adults with chronic health issues may have found it difficult to get the treatment required during the Covid-19 pandemic. This may have lasting effects on overall health. Also, seniors that have contracted the coronavirus may be at an increased risk for further health conditions.
Getting back to the new normal will likely take time, patience, and support. But there is a silver lining in all this chaos. Increased awareness has been brought to the issue of social isolation. This has been an ongoing concern for older adults, and the coronavirus pandemic has shed new light on its challenges.
Also, many seniors have been forced to take more active role in their own self-care during this time. With fewer options for support, many older adults are realizing the importance of:
- Regular routines
- Consistent exercise
- Nutritious diet
- Steady sleep schedules
- Social connection (in person or virtual)
Home Care Assistance
Caregivers can be an enormous help in getting seniors back on track as they navigate their way towards a new routine that optimizes health and independence.
Home care is an affordable option to provide assistance to family caregivers, and home care services can be arranged as often as needed.