2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, but especially those who suffer from memory impairment and count on their loved ones and caretakers at a memory care assisted living facilities to care for them. In the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic, life changed dramatically for everyone. For those in memory care facilities, life took a turn for the worse. While the entire world was on some form of lockdown to help slow the spread of the virus, those in assisted living facilities were isolated because they are a part of the most vulnerable population group.
Residents were quarantined, closed off from participating in activities and routines that were their stable foundation. They were forced to wear masks when confusion and dementia didn’t allow them to fully understand why. Visitors were forced to stop coming and interactions with friends and family outside their facilities were limited to phone calls and waves through windows, which, if you’ve ever had a conversation with someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, is not ideal even on a good day. Outings were canceled and events within facilities were postponed indefinitely.
For those with cognitive impairment, reading or watching television, or catching up on hobbies to pass the time is incredibly difficult. In an effort to protect their residents, staff members increased distance, donned facial coverings, and limited contact. For those with dementia, this was not only confusing and isolating, but their entire world suddenly changed without notice. As the response to the virus has evolved and the world seemingly reopened, life in assisted living facilities followed slowly. As a concerned family member who misses their loved one and want them to know you care, we want to take some time to discuss a few ways that you can visit your loved one while protecting them.
Limit Your Own Exposure
The best thing you can do to prevent exposing your loved one to COVID-19 is to limit your own exposure. We highly recommend only visiting places and people that you need to and staying at home when you can. If you work from home, this is ideal. When you must go out, follow CDC guidelines that include wearing facial coverings, washing your hands often, and maintaining six-feet of social distance from those outside your household. When you limit your own exposure, you are less likely to unknowingly pass it along.
Keep Your Distance and Wear a Mask
When you do visit your loved one, it is still a good idea to maintain six-feet of distance between you and them. This can be accomplished by sitting at a large table or across the room in a natural living room setup. We recommend keeping your mask on at all times, whether your loved one is wearing one or not. Your facial covering should cover both your mouth and nose and be fitted so that there are no gaps around the edges.
Keep Your Visit Short and Sweet
When it comes to visiting, try to keep it short. Limit the length of your visit, which is helpful for reducing exposure and allows more people to visit folks when taking turns is likely. Rather than focusing on the quantity of visits and time spent together, focus more on quality time. If the facility requires you to schedule a visit, take into consideration meal and sleep times as well as your loved one’s normal routine to optimize visits.
Make Visits Outside
When scheduling your visit, anticipate it being outside. When you chat out of doors, you limit the potential for you to pass anything to your loved one and anyone else who loves in their assisted living center. Outdoor visits have the benefit of fresh air and sunshine and helps your loved one get out of their room for your visit. If there is adverse weather, you may have to make alternate plans or postpone your visit.
At Serenity Gardens Assisted Living centers in Texas, we are doing everything we can to keep your loved one and all of our residents safe from the novel coronavirus and other harmful diseases. While our current policies for visitors may seem frustrating, we continually update them as information about the virus evolves and we establish our new, safe, normal. Connect with us directly to learn more about current practice and schedule your visit.