Is it Safe to Visit Elders at Home?
Excerpted from AARP….
Although “stay at home orders” are easing up in some parts of the country, questions about whether it’s wise to visit older relatives still loom large. Seniors who contract COVID-19 face a high risk of developing dangerous complications, and it’s possible to be carrying the virus and transmit it to others even if you don’t feel sick.
Yet isolation also has serious ramifications: Before the pandemic, an estimated 24 percent of adults 65 and older who live independently (not in nursing homes) were already suffering from isolation and loneliness.
Social isolation clearly impacts mental well-being, but it has also been associated with an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, dementia and premature mortality. Those who maintain strong social bonds, perhaps not surprisingly, generally lead longer, happier and healthier lives.
While technology has been helping many families stay connected despite being physically separated, few would argue that FaceTime is as enjoyable as a real-life visit. And video chats simply won’t cut it if you have an elderly parent who relies on you to stock the kitchen with food, water the lawn or take out the garbage. Managing these kind of logistics while keeping your distance is even more complex when the older person’s cognitive skills are compromised.
Every situation is different. Please balance the risks versus the benefits.
Because experts believe the coronavirus is being spread by asymptomatic carriers (in addition to those who feel sick), any in-person visit carries some level of risk. We all should still be trying to limit contact with elders in order to keep them safest. That said, there are some situations in which maintaining contact or re-instituting it after a long separation might be the right move.
COVID-19 has proven to be: 1) a serious health risk; 2) difficult to contain; 3) and extremely stubborn and prolonged. The medical community continues to learn more about symptoms and treatments every week. Please take appropriate precautions and wear a facemask in public.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164