How to Care for Your Aging Loved One in a Post-Pandemic World

by Nicola Reid

While the coronavirus is here to stay, all signs indicate that the pandemic is beginning to wind down even as we battle a new variant — at least in the United States. Between a better appreciation for social distancing and vaccination rates greater than 60% of the adult population, our world is starting to look a bit more like it did in 2019. That means that the seniors in our lives are able to move more freely. Here are ways to help them live their best life in a post-pandemic world.


Get the vaccine.


One of the greatest gifts you can give your senior loved one is the coronavirus vaccine. Not only should they take a one or two-dose vaccine, you — and any members of your family who are eligible — should, as well. According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, there are many reasons to get vaccinated, including being able to keep older adults in your life from getting sick. Having your entire family fully vaccinated means that you can see each other, mask-free. You can even enjoy hugs and close contact indoors.


Help them socialize.


As your older family member becomes more comfortable getting out in the world after their vaccine, you’ll also want to look for ways to help them socialize with their friends and peer group. Visiting Angels Senior care asserts that socialization amongst the elders of our population can help reduce cognitive decline and depression. More importantly, engaging in planned activities and interacting with others is a great way to improve your loved one’s quality of life.


Plan ahead for long-term care.


At some point, many of our older family members may need more help than we can provide. Because of this, it might be necessary to move them into a long-term care center. You have many options here, including assisted living, independent living, and more intense care in the form of skilled nursing or memory care. Depending on your loved one’s ability to care for themselves, you could also have them share their home with another senior which saves money and gives them another social outlet. Do your research now so that you know which type of environment might be best for your loved one.


If your loved one is moving out of their home, plan ahead by researching local moving companies. Search for “moving companies near me” and explore customer reviews and company rates. Always insist that a moving company conduct an in-person estimate before hiring them.


Consider what to do with their property.


If your loved one needs residential care, you’ll need to decide what to do with their real and personal property. You may need to sell the home and use the equity to pay for their long-term care. If so, make sure that you understand how the pandemic has influenced your local housing market. Look at prices and try to track the trends. This data can help you make a better decision on whether to sell or to use the property as an ongoing income stream.


Handle legal matters.


Whether your loved one finishes their golden years at home or not, there is a chance that, at some point, you are likely going to have to make decisions on their behalf. For this, you’ll need to handle legal matters, including obtaining durable power of attorney and, ideally, having them draft a medical directive. You also want to make sure that you know where their will, bank account information, and property deeds are located. Having this information now will cut down on stress and tension if your loved one ever needs you to take the reins.


Deciding on how to care for a loved one isn’t always easy. Add in the continued uncertainty of a two-year-long pandemic, and you can easily get overwhelmed. The tips above, from getting vaccinated to having your loved one’s legal papers in hand, are great ways to be prepared for whatever may come.


 

If you’re a veteran or surviving spouse, Dr. Forkner can assist you in receiving the benefits and assistance you’ve earned through your service. Call 480.890.2424 to schedule an appointment.



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