With the news reports of outbreaks in a few nursing homes around the U.S., some local health officials have suggested that families consider moving their senior loved ones home from assisted living and memory care communities during the COVID-19 crisis. You may be wondering: what’s your best plan of action? Do you need to bring your loved one home?
As you consider options, experts recommend caution.
“Moving an older adult from a long-term care center is risky and could have long-lasting impacts,” said David Gifford, Geriatrician and Chief Medical Officer of the American Healthcare Association and the National Center for Assisted Living. Dr. Gifford was quoted by AARP.
There are several factors to consider which may make a move out of a senior community unadvisable at this time:
Senior living communities operated by The Arbor Company have infection prevention measures in place at all times, and we have stepped up those measures significantly in recent months with the arrival of COVID-19 in the U.S. By contrast, you won’t find similar stringent measures taken in public, and you may find them extremely difficult to put in place at home at the same high level. If you don’t have access to personal protective equipment (PPE), for example, that makes caregiving more risky for both you and your senior loved one.
Currently, no visitors are allowed in Arbor communities, and anyone who must enter (staff members and health care workers) is screened carefully before entering the building. You may find it difficult, if not impossible, to limit the exposure of your senior loved one to other people in your own home, especially if you have someone in the family who must go out into the community often for essential work or other reasons.
24 Hour Staffing
Remember that Arbor communities are staffed 24/7. If your senior loved one wanders at night, or needs help toileting, or is ready for a meal, we have staff members here to take care of that. Placing that round-the-clock responsibility on one or two people in your own home could prove stressful.
Keep in mind, too, that any move, even with the best of intentions, can be stressful for a senior, especially those living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, who tend to thrive best in a familiar and structured routine. Many of our residents have made friendships in their communities and enjoy the daily interaction with staff members. Even though that interaction is curtailed temporarily, the community feels like home to our residents, and that’s important to remember.
We invite you to stay in touch with your senior loved one through virtual means during the difficult time. We’re here to help with that in any way we can.
We hope this gives you some peace of mind and invite you to reach out to the Executive Director in your Arbor community if you have any questions or concerns.