The Impact of COVID-19 on an Older Adult’s Living Situation

By Aging Wisdom |

Many families have questions about how to best care for their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic. This list of frequently asked questions can provide your family with helpful guidance.

Q: Should I bring my family member home from a care facility to avoid COVID-19 exposure?

A: Every situation is unique. It is best to discuss the pros and cons of trying to move your family member home with your care manager since the availability of services and supports rapidly changes. You will need to formulate detailed plans to provide care to your loved one at home. An Aging Wisdom care manager can help you think through the benefits and risks, help you make the best decisions, and assist you to implement a workable plan.

Q: Should my family member be visiting the doctor at this time?  

A: It is recommended that all non-essential medical appointments and elective surgeries be postponed. Because older adults often have health concerns that cannot be ignored, an Aging Wisdom care manager can help your family prioritize needs and develop a plan. Options may include video telehealth, phone consultations, or accessing available community resources to avoid health setbacks. Our team is knowledgeable about local services and skilled at asking the right questions to reach the best outcome.

Q: My family member has in-home care. What should I be thinking about during this time of COVID-19?

A: Aging Wisdom recommends that families have solid emergency plans in place to address caregiver illness, emergency supply shortages, and screening protocols for COVID-19 symptoms. The availability of services and supports to manage care at home for older people rapidly changes. Your Aging Wisdom care manager can support you and your caregiving team to access necessary services and help develop contingency plans.

Q: My family member needs to move to a different level of care. Is that even possible now?

A: Aging Wisdom is tracking the available supported living options and can help you plan a move if it is essential. We can also help navigate the special circumstances that involve moving an older adult who has recovered from COVID-19. Our care managers have developed excellent working relationships with a wide variety of community partners. We can locate the best available services for your family member and facilitate the move.

Q: My family member is hospitalized and needs a discharge plan, can Aging Wisdom help?

A: Yes! Aging Wisdom is carefully tracking the availability of services and supports in the community. We can coordinate with the hospital discharge planner, help develop an appropriate plan, and assist you to find the best options for your loved one.

Q: I worry about my loved one being isolated and the impact that will have on mental health and cognition. Is there anything we can do?

A: Social isolation is a serious problem and something we should all try to avoid. However, during this pandemic, the benefits of social distancing outweigh the risks. There are many things you can do to help ease feelings of loneliness and keep your loved one cognitively stimulated. Aging Wisdom can provide you with specific guidance for your situation. We also offer creative engagement specialists who can engage your family member through phone calls, mailing cards/letters, and through a variety of virtual connections during this pandemic.

Q: Should our caregivers, my family member and everyone in our family be tested for COVID-19 as a precaution?

A: Access to testing is changing daily and, in time, should become more available. While many people desire testing to allay concerns, the COVID-19 tests and the associated supplies needed to perform the test are prioritized for those with the greatest need right now. The best advice is to follow the CDC guidelines for hand hygiene and physical distancing. Aging Wisdom is continuously tracking information about the testing criteria and available options. We can help your family decide the best approach for your specific situation.

Q: What is the protocol for caregivers to return to work if they had a positive test for COVID-19 and have been under home isolation?

A: King County Public Health Department recommends the following for those who have been under home isolation:  

For individuals with symptoms who are confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 and are directed to care for themselves at home, discontinue home isolation under the following conditions:

  • If you had a fever, 3 days after the fever is gone without use of fever-reducing medications AND you see an improvement in your initial symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath);
  • If you did not have a fever, 3 days after you see an improvement in your initial symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath); OR 7 days after symptom onset, whichever is longer.

Q: Does Aging Wisdom offer family support? I’m feeling overwhelmed and stressed!

A: Yes! Please contact us. We are ready to help you and your family during this difficult time. Call us at 206.456.5155 to schedule a consultation, or email us at Inquiries@agingwisdom.com