Caregiver Stress: Tackling Tough Decisions In the Age of COVID

Caring for and making decisions for an aging and sick parent is never easy. But as the coronavirus continues to complicate matters for older adults, it can be even more challenging to know how and when to step in. However, sometimes choices must be made, and when that time comes, it pays to be prepared. Senior Care Central explains what you need to consider.

How Does the Virus Affect Seniors?

Scientists and doctors have made inroads in pandemic research, and all are resolute in reporting that older adults are in the highest risk category. As Johns Hopkins explains, those over age 60 with pre-existing conditions, such as lung disease and diabetes, are at the greatest risk. For these reasons, if you are caring for a senior with a health condition, the decisions you make now are that much more important to their overall health and well-being.

Getting It Together

Even if you’ve already discussed your senior loved one’s wants and wishes, you may not be legally able to make decisions if they take a turn for the worse unless you have legal documents in place. Elder Protection Center lists the most pertinent of these as a medical directive, power of attorney for health care, power of attorney for finances, revocable trust, and a will.

Each of these documents allows you to give direction in different areas. For example, the healthcare power of attorney lets you quickly make decisions about things like medical treatment in case your loved one is incapacitated. Becoming appointed as the executor of a will gives you the power to carry out their final wishes as far as their estate and belongings go. Making arrangements while your loved one is able ensures their wishes are met.

Hospice Care

As your loved one declines, it may be necessary to arrange for hospice care. If your loved one’s illness worsens and they cannot take care of themselves and they need assistance maintaining a medical condition or hands-on care when it comes to bathing, dressing, and eating, it’s likely time for hospice care to take over. You might even be attempting this care yourself, but find yourself in a burnout situation, in which case a professional is the best choice for you both.

Financing the Future

If your loved ones’ needs outweigh their ability to continue in their current living situation, it might be necessary to sell their home to cover expenses. Keep in mind, however, that the real estate market has changed in response to COVID-19.

First, find out what you can earn from the sale of the home by running some calculations online. It’s also a good idea to learn about your local market to help with your decisions. You can get a better idea of what their home might sell for by doing some research on market trends in the area. If their property value has dropped dramatically, it may be wise to wait and use other means to pay for expenses until the market perks back up.

For instance, you could rent out the property to generate income to cover your loved one’s living expenses. Just bear in mind that by turning the home into a rental, you or your loved one will be responsible for tenant vetting, maintenance and upkeep. You’ll also need to gauge the cost of local rentals. Denver apartment rentals right now are averaging $1,874 for a one-bedroom. If this seems like an ideal scenario, you can also work with a property manager to handle rental operations for a small percentage.

Key Takeaways

  • The coronavirus affects senior citizens, and that can make it more difficult for caregivers to make decisions about their well-being.
  • Without having legal documents in place, any decisions you do make may not be carried out.
  • Real estate prices may affect your loved one’s ability to pay for care, and research may be needed when facing a home sale.

Again, it’s not easy to make decisions for a loved one, particularly one who has a life-limiting illness and may not be able to offer input. But as a caretaker, making decisions is something that you have to do. As the world continues to remain uncertain, having a plan in place now can save you and your entire family from indecision and heartache during what is surely one of the most stressful times of your life.

 

 

 

 

By |2022-02-10T15:23:29-05:00February 10th, 2022|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Caregiver Stress: Tackling Tough Decisions In the Age of COVID

Guest Blog: How to Best Care for Elderly Patients with COVID-19

 

COVID-19 is an infectious disease that is characterized by dry cough, fever, and fatigue. It is usually caused by SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Most of the people who suffer from this disease end up recovering even without receiving any treatment. Others become seriously sick and need intensive medical care. The people who are at risk of severe illness are older adults and people with underlying health conditions. That is why you need to be careful when taking care of an older adult suffering from COVID-19. Below are more details on how you should take care of such a person.

Help Cover Their Basic Needs

Just like other people, older people suffering from COVID-19 have basic needs that have to be met. For instance, they need to eat, put on clothes and sleep well. Therefore, as a caregiver, you need to ensure that the sick person eats and sleeps well. When shopping for foods, buy them fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, legumes, and unprocessed food. Eating these foods will help boost the patient’s immune system, helping them recover from COVID-19.

You should also encourage the patient to take at least eight cups of water every day. This water will transport nutrients throughout their body and regulate their body temperature. If they are not willing to drink too much water, encourage them to consume fruits and vegetables that contain water.

Ensure That They Take Their Medications

COVID-19 patients are often advised to take a few over-the-counter medicines that help manage COVID-19 symptoms. For instance, some of them are told to take medications that help reduce fever and cough syrups. Hiring in-home senior care would ensure that your patient takes all their medications.

While caring for this person, you should check whether the prescribed medications are helping improve the patient’s symptoms or not. If they are not improving, you should contact the patient’s doctor. You should also help the sick person follow any other instructions given by the doctor.

Monitor The Patient’s Symptoms

You should constantly monitor the symptoms that the sick elderly are experiencing. A home pulse oximeter can help you do that. This medical device measures the amount of oxygen in a person’s bloodstream. Therefore, it can help you know when your patient is experiencing difficulty in breathing. For instance, if it shows a reading of less than 92%, you should know that the patient is experiencing difficulty in breathing, and you should have them hospitalized. You should also have your patient hospitalized if they are experiencing emergency warning signs. These warning signs include:

  • Bluish face or lips
  • Blue, pale, or grey-colored nail beds, skin or lips
  • Persistent chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Confusion

Do Not Leave the Patient Alone

You may be tempted to go out and leave your patient alone after you notice that they are doing fine. However, you should not do that as the patient’s health condition may worsen after you go out. If you have to go out, request a good in-home senior care provider to take care of the sick person while you are away.

While spending time with the sick person, you should wear a face mask and encourage the sick person to wear a face mask. You should not touch your face mask while wearing it, and you should throw it away immediately after use. You should also ensure that you stay at least 6 feet away from this person.

Clean The Patient’s Personal Items

While caring for an older adult suffering from COVID-19, you should clean this patient’s personal items. For instance, you should wash their clothes and personal household items. You should use regular detergent to clean these items and warm water. You should wear disposable gloves while cleaning these items. After you are done cleaning them, remove the gloves and wash your hands with water and soap. You should place the dirty gloves in the waste bin kept in the sick person’s room. You should also clean the surfaces in your home that people often touch. These surfaces include tabletops, doorknobs, and counters.

COVID-19 is an infectious disease. That is why you need to be careful when caring for an elderly person suffering from this disease. You should ensure that this person takes their medications, eats well, and gets enough rest.

 

 

By |2021-09-24T11:53:41-05:00September 24th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: How to Best Care for Elderly Patients with COVID-19