Keep Safe and Informed During COVID-19
The Alden Network answers current FAQs:
Caring your for aging loved ones
At the Alden Network, we began social distancing and most of us have been practicing social distancing for over a month. It’s becoming apparent that our experience depends in part on our life circumstances. At the Alden Network, we’ve compiled a set of FAQs that we have received throughout our family of communities, care facilities, and related companies. We share with you to help ease concerns and provide tangible ideas and facts that help you during this time.
What if my loved one lives alone, and far away?
You might be tempted to hop on a plan to help, and yet, that may not be possible for you right now. It is a good idea for you to call, email or video chat with your loved one frequently. Remind them how important it is for them to stay home. Many of your loved one’s usual supports will be unavailable at this time, so you may have to remotely arrange for substitutes. Contact your loved one’s local senior services agency. An aging life care professional (geriatric care manager) can also help; these professionals are finding innovative ways to provide service at this time. Learn more from the Aging Life Care Association (ALCA) website.
What about my aging loved one living with me?
By now, you are probably very familiar with the steps to take to protect yourself and your loved one against the virus. Seniors are at the highest risk of serious illness and death from the novel coronavirus, and the best way to avoid that is to keep them away from exposure. The recommended degree of social distancing can be challenging — no visits from the grandkids, no trips to the senior center, and canceled healthcare appointments. Remind your loved one to wash their hands often and correctly, and to wear a mask in situations where it might be hard to distance. The same goes for you! Carelessness could mean that you could bring the virus home. (If you need a refresher, here are the latest recommendations from the CDC.) Yes, this is going to be a lot of “togetherness,” so maintain your social lifelines and take some “me time” even as you’re quarantined.
What if my loved one is in a senior living or skilled nursing community?
Older adults are more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19, so skilled nursing and memory care facilities, and assisted living communities, similar to ours in the Alden Network, follow strict precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. Most likely, at this time you will not be allowed to visit your loved one. This can feel heartbreaking, especially if you were one of the many devoted family members who regularly visit to support their loved one’s care! But the facility will have ways to keep you connected. Ask about facilitated video chats using computer tablets or cell phones. Check out your loved one’s community Facebook page, as well—many are VERY active these days. Call frequently, and urge friends and family to reach out, as well. It’s truer than ever that letter writing never goes out of style. It’s nice to know that many senior care communities report having more contact with loved ones and their greater community than usual these days!
The CDC is recommending people wear face covering when out in public. Family Home Health Network, part of the Alden Network, recently issued helpful advice and resources about face masks. It answers many questions, ranging from choosing a face mask to proper care and use. You can learn more by reading their blog, which offers a wealth of helpful information and serves as a timely resource on this topic.
We can’t immunize ourselves and our loved ones against coronavirus yet, but we can ward off con artists with a “shot” of awareness! First, let’s learn what to look out for. Experts are raising awareness of several types of COVID-19 scams you might encounter:
- Unscrupulous marketers who are selling fake products that claim to treat, diagnose or prevent the virus.
- Callers pretending to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or health department, telling you that you’ve been exposed to the virus—and asking for your health insurance information or bank account number.
- Similar calls and emails, claiming to contain information about the upcoming government stimulus checks.
- Emails claiming to contain important information from the World Health Organization or the CDC, with links to malicious websites that can steal your personal data or even hold your computer for ransom.
- Phony charities or crowdfunding appeals, pretending to collect donations to fund research or to help people who are affected by the virus; instead, the money you give supports a crook’s lavish lifestyle.
- Attempts to bill insurance companies and Medicare for nonexistent or useless tests and treatments.
- Shady investment opportunities, taking advantage of the economic uncertainty of the times—or, claiming to be selling stock in a miracle product that will rise hugely in value.
- Phony “work from home opportunities” that take advantage of people whose job security is jeopardized.
- Inflated prices for disinfecting wipes, toilet paper, face masks and other commodities that are, or are perceived to be, in short supply.
People like you who are providing care support for aging loved ones have an extra set of concerns right now. We hope that this information serves as a valuable resource during this time. If you have other questions or would like further information about how to best care for your loved one, please feel free to contact us. Throughout The Alden Network, we are here to be a resource and a help to you and our community.
The information in this article is not meant to replace the advice of your healthcare provider.