Caring for Aging Parents During the Coronavirus Pandemic
At Nadler Biernath, many of our clients are in the “sandwich generation.” Folks are caring for aging parents and young children. As we all work to process the ever-changing news and deluge of information about COVID-19, one thing is clear: Older adults are at higher risk for severe illness. For those with aging parents, this can be unsettling. Below, you’ll find some information we’ve compiled to help keep you and your loved ones healthy and connected during this time of uncertainty.
Keep Yourself Healthy
If you’ll be providing care for a high-risk parent, it’s important to keep yourself healthy. The World Health Organization recommends you:
- Wash your hands frequently
- Maintain social distancing
- Avoid touching your face
- Follow respiratory hygiene by covering your cough or sneeze with a bent elbow or tissue you then dispose of
- Call a medical provider if you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing
Pay attention to your mental health, too! Connect with friends virtually and enjoy time with your family, while finding space for yourself as well.
Caring for Your Parents
Your COVID-19 plan for your parents will likely have much to do with their living situation and required level of care.
If your parent lives independently, offer to handle the grocery shopping. Time created an expert-driven roundup on how to safely shop for and handle your food. Encourage your parent to practice social distancing. Routine can be difficult to break, so parents may need regular reminders not to go to a grocery store, drug store or keep social engagements. And, as hard as it is for everyone, if you have young kids, it’s safest to avoid in-person interactions for now. While we should all socially distance ourselves, we don’t have to be isolated, thanks to our age of technology. Encourage your parent to use the phone or computer and reach out to friends and family.
If your parent lives in an assisted living facility or nursing home, follow the facility’s guidelines regarding visitors. For the safety of all residents, many facilities are not allowing visitors. If visitors are not allowed, make sure you understand the facility’s emergency plan and how you’ll stay updated on your parent’s health. Find out if regular doctor visits can be performed via telemedicine. Some facilities will also allow a “window visit,” if your parent’s room is on the ground floor.
If your parent lives with you, set up a household self-quarantine. Regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces in the home, like doorknobs, sinks and light switches.
If your parent has dementia, know the likely signs of illness—often increased confusion. Support personal hygiene, and consider making written reminders to wash hands. If your parent has an in-home caregiver, have a plan for backup care. Remind the caregiver to wash hands upon entering your home.
Using Technology to Stay Connected
With limited visits or even self-isolation, you’ll want to make sure that your older loved ones are also staying mentally healthy. The CDC recommends taking breaks from the news, moving your body and staying connected. Organize a video call for your family. Have your parents and kids read books together over the phone. Set a time to watch a favorite show together, then talk it over the next day. While it’s not the same as being together, you may find new ways to connect.
Speak With an Atlanta Elder Law Lawyer
Planning is more important than ever right now. At Nadler Biernath, we’re happy to be able to support families as they navigate this ongoing crisis. We have experience handling all aspects of estate planning and elder law. Call us today at 770-999-9799 to schedule your initial consultation (conducted virtually) to discuss how we can help your loved ones. Stay safe and healthy!