At The Moments, we understand the intensely protective feelings that families have for their vulnerable seniors. The decision to place a loved one in a memory care community is difficult at the best of times. Now with news of COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes, weighing the pros and cons of moving a spouse or parent with dementia can feel overwhelming.
You want the very best for your loved one, and so do the team members at our memory care community in Lakeville. In light of coronavirus concerns, the medical team at The Moments, under nursing director Tracey Fearon, offers this guidance for families who are trying to make the decision right now about moving a family member.
Safety is the primary reason families choose long-term care. Consider whether a home setting or a stringently managed long-term care setting can provide a heightened level of safety. Consider also the timeframe for doing so. Minnesotans will shelter in place until at least early May before they begin returning to daily life. But without a vaccine, vulnerable people will remain vulnerable for months, perhaps even a year or more. Heightened protection for your loved one will need to continue.
People are contagious before they show symptoms, which is why physical distancing has been ordered by Minnesota Governor Walz
- Do you have the time and ability in your home setting to diligently disinfect items that enter your house?
- If there are people leaving home, will you be able to disinfect all high-touch surfaces several times a day, and wash their clothing more often? Do you have the time to do more extensive daily cleaning?
Separate Facilities in Case of Illness
If someone else in your household became ill, do you have the ability to completely separate them from your elder?
- Can you disinfect the things they used and the rooms they were in – or close those spaces off for 7 days?
- Do you have a separate bathroom facility for your elder?
Contingent Care Plan
Any caregiver needs a backup plan.
Managing Family Stress
Families choose long-term care communities like The Moments because they believe a team approach will better meet their loved one’s needs. That situation probably has not changed but perhaps you feel you and your family can make more sacrifices now because of the COVID crisis.
Think realistically about how your family is handling the stress of living through a pandemic.
- Will you be able to balance the additional work of children who are out of school, as well as the needs of a parent?
- What would be a sign to you that you can no longer manage? What can you change when you reach that point?
- Is the emotional stress your family is experiencing now affecting your elder’s behavior – making him or her more needy or confused?
- Do you have a strong support system to help you manage these new challenges? What can you do to create one?
Meeting Your Loved One's Needs
If you were considering moving your family member to long-term care, it was probably because you felt you could no longer meet their personal care and medical needs the way that you would like. You believed that specially trained staff, working around the clock, could do a better job.
That situation likely hasn’t changed. So factor your answers to these questions into your decision-making process:
- Can you safely assist your loved one with all of his/her daily personal care needs, such as hand washing, toileting, eating, taking medications, getting in and out of bed?
- Are you able to prevent your loved one from wandering away or engaging in some other dangerous behavior?
- Can you manage your loved one’s medications? Is there someone else who can help you?
After reviewing these questions, you may decide you aren’t yet ready to make a change and that with support and commitment you can delay that decision awhile longer.
Or you may decide that a healthcare team whose health is screened daily, with a COVID-trained housekeeping staff, a locked down facility, and the ability to quarantine in private suites offers a higher level of protection for your loved one.
We support you in seeking the best for your family member. We want you to know that The Moments will be here when you need us.
April 30, 2020
Author: The Moments Memory Care Team
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