Covid-19: time to get creative to keep in touch

By Jonathan Acton - jonathan.acton@homeinstead.ie

Home Instead Senior Care, Marlinstown Office Park, Mullingar – 044 9385260; www.homeinstead.ie

Covid-19 has changed the way we interact with our families. With older adults urged to stay away from other people as much as possible, popping in to see Mam and Dad should be kept at a minimum in line with official advice.

It can be hard to keep away from your elder loved ones while the coronavirus is a threat, but it’s important to follow the relevant guidelines. As people age, their immune systems weaken and they’re not as able to fight off the virus. People 60 and older, especially those with conditions like heart and lung disease, are more in danger of serious illness due to Covid-19. They’re more likely to be admitted to the hospital and to die from the disease.

People who are infected with the virus don’t always show symptoms. Even if you and your kids feel fine, you could unknowingly carry it in to your parents’ home.

But staying away can cause problems, too.

People who are isolated are at greater risk for depression, anxiety, heart disease, and mental decline.

So it’s time to get creative. There are things you can do to keep elderly loved ones from feeling lonely but still keep them safe.

Send a care package

Everyone stock up on enough food and other supplies to stay home for a few days. Because it might be hard for older people to get to the shops, put together a care package of things you know they’ll need, such as:

Foods that will last for several weeks, like canned fruits and vegetables, cereal, and soup

Over-the-counter medicines to treat a fever, cough, and other symptoms

Health and medical supplies such as tissues, toilet paper, bandages, and oxygen if needed

Disinfecting cleaning sprays and wipes

Heaps of treats and meaningful photos

Drop off these items at your loved ones’ front door, or order them from an online shop that delivers.

Also make sure older people have at least a 30-day supply of their prescription medicines on hand. Offer to reorder from the pharmacy when they run low, and pick up the medicine for them if you live close enough, or arrange the local pharmacist to deliver.

Schedule video calls

When you can’t be there in person, a video call is the next best thing. Communication tools like Skype and free apps like Zoom, WhatsApp, and FaceTime can make you feel like you’re together even when you’re thousands of miles away. Research finds that interacting through technology improves symptoms of isolation and depression in older adults.

Schedule a time each week for a video call to check in with each other. Ask your kids to sing a song or tell a story. Or play a board game together virtually to keep the family connection alive. I’d be lucky to keep our boy George still long enough to make a worthwhile video call. I feel like Bear Grylls chasing after a leopard with an I phone but sure that’s part of the craic for audience I suppose.

Write letters

Letter writing may be a neglected art these days, but it’s one of the most heartfelt ways to stay connected. Sometimes it’s easier to express yourself and tell your loved ones what they mean to you on paper than over the phone or in person. I know I’m emotionally awkward so I find texting or letter writing less difficult.

Since March 2020 Covid-19 has challenged the way we provide care in the home to seniors. We have had to change and adapt to all updated public health guidelines to ensure the safety of our CAREGivers and clients.

We have ensured and will continue to ensure regular upskilling and training for our CAREGivers in relation to Covid-19 infection prevention and control procedures. Also we all have had to pull together and work pretty much every day since last March. Many of us are tired, burnt out and a little perplexed by the crazy carry on of a few silly people not following public health advice.

The infection rate of Covid 19 in Home Care was thankfully less than 1% which shows that Home Really is the safest place to be. Again I want to express my thanks to our wonderful CAREGivers who ensured they battled through the last 10 months to maintain quality care in the home for our most vulnerable and treasured, our senior loved ones.

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’Twas the night before Christmas

By Jonathan Acton

When all through the house

Not a creature was stirring

Not even our granddad.

He was soundly asleep

Wrapped up safe in his bed

Being professionally cared for

By his friends from Home Instead

You see granddad was tired from being out all day long,

Christmas shopping with his carer and listening to the choirs song.

He threw snowballs and drank mulled wine, all of this with his buddies,

Who told him there was 20% off for seniors at Woodie’s!

So off granddad went with his carer in tow

Who had driven him through the icy conditions and snow

More shopping and banter and craic was to come

For granddad and his carer were out to have fun

As we know in this life most things come to an end

But never the bond built between two good friends

Make the most of your days because there is no rehearsal

We believe this at Home Instead, and to us it’s personal.

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