There are precautions homecare providers, caregivers, the elderly, and their families can take to keep the elderly safe during these dangerous times. F
There are precautions homecare providers, caregivers, the elderly, and their families can take to keep the elderly safe during these dangerous times.
Like many professions, caregiving is impacted too by Covid-19 pandemic too. (Rawpixel pic)Whether a pandemic like a coronavirus exists or not, the need for elderly care will always be important for millions of elderly around the world.Under normal circumstances, high-touch and often low-paid workers provide their elderly clients at home with a critical link to the outside world.
They also keep them safe and healthy at home. Caregiving, whether formal or informal, is a difficult and often under-appreciated, but important job.Like many professions, caregiving is impacted too by Covid-19Now, in a time of “movement restriction orders,” “stay home” and “lockdown,” home caregivers worry about the health implications of their jobs, which data shows are of the lowest paid.
They ask, “Am I putting myself at risk? “My clients?” Caregivers are concerned about doing things other people are avoiding right now, such as taking public transportation.The spread of Covid-19 adds pressure to the home caregiving industry, which employs millions of people around the world.
The elderly rely on these workers for assistance like getting out of bed to eating, to dressing, to wound care to physical therapy, to running errands, and much more.Most of these caregivers serve the elderly, a population particularly vulnerable if they contract the virus.
However, the vulnerable population can’t heed the main advice for staying safe: social distancing. It just isn’t possible when one depends on at-home care, and no other options exist.Keeping the elderly and their caregivers safeThere are some things homecare providers, caregivers, the elderly, and their families, can do to keep the elderly safe during these tough times.
Keep the elderly at home at all times. Let others buy them food and run errands.Be more vigilant of your elderly’s condition and alert their doctor right away if their condition changes, especially if you see the telltale signs of Covid-19: fever, persistent cough, and shortness of breath.
Consider using telemedicine as the first option if the elderly person’s condition changes. In Malaysia, Doc2Us and TELLME, and several others, offer such services.Caregivers should practise proper hygiene at all times for themselves and their patients.
Caregivers must frequently wash their hands and use hand sanitisers.Surfaces should be wiped down periodically.Caregivers should keep visitors away and/or at a proper distance — this is critical.Make sure the elderly continue to stay active by exercising to the extent possible.
Continue to ensure the elderly eat well.Observing a healthy and balanced diet is doubly important for the elderly during these times. (Rawpixel pic)Ensure patients are still taking their medications, and even if they can get an extra supply, just to be sure if this pandemic lasts a while, and supplies tighten up.
Staying up-to-date on vaccines — especially flu and pneumonia — is also critical. Patients or their caregivers should ask their doctors if they are current on their vaccines, or if they need a booster shot, especially since vaccine formulations change and even improve over time.
Caregivers from reputable agencies — usually managed by doctors — should be well trained in safety procedures even in times when there is not a pandemic.Finding a caregiver during the Covid-19 pandemicEven now the need for caregivers has not diminished. Family members may be overseas, self-isolating away from their elderly or are across town or in another part of the country.
For many reasons, even with Covid-19, people still need caregivers, perhaps even more now.It is possible to find caregivers, and reputable agencies are taking measures to ensure the safety of the elderly and their patients. If you are looking for a caregiver now, consider the advice above, but also:
Encourage the caregiver to have a health screening before coming to your home.It is advisable that the caregiver has a written document from a doctor indicating that they have a clean bill of health.Be certain, particularly now, that caregivers are from companies or agencies that have a solid track record and have been in the business for quite some time.
Check to see if the company has doctors and nurses on staff.Ask for references.Be sceptical of businesses or sole proprietorships — often those having only a Facebook page or a phone number and offering few other details.At this moment, it is even more important to assess the total value of the service such as what’s included and not included, along with the reputation and quality, for the price when making comparisons among providers, rather than considering only the price alone.
Be flexible and considerate with the caregiver you hire. They’re just as nervous as you right now. They are though, compassionate and hard-working. Thank them for their service in these difficult times and be patient with them.Good caregivers can be hard to find. Do all you can to keep them happy and healthy too.
The Covid-19 pandemic is not going away any time soon — there is still likely weeks or months ahead. That means you need to continue to be vigilant with not only your own health but the health of the elderly too.The people who took care of you when you were younger need the favour returned to them now that they are older. Do all you can by taking special precautions to keep your elderly loved ones safe and healthy at home today.
Andrew Mastrandonas is an elderly care/home care and health tech executive based in Kuala Lumpur. For additional information on finding a caregiver:or call/text/WhatsApp the Caregiver Hotline: +60 17-805 9677 for immediate assistance.
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