With social distancing, stay-at-home orders and visitation restrictions keeping people from physically checking in with aging loved ones, it can be more of a challenge to manage distance care giving.
Wellness activity, courtesy Westhills Village
Ensuring loved ones are healthy and safe is difficult during the pandemic, especially if they are in isolation.
Erin Smith, Westhills Village
Wellness and Life Enrichment Director, says, “The biggest thing that I have heard from people is that they just want to see their families, they want to be able to give their loved ones hugs, that is the hardest things for people not be able to do.”
Pantry ramps up product availability, courtesy Westhills Village
Loneliness can be a side effect of the seclusion. Westhills is keeping families engaged by offering face to face visits under controlled situations and with proper social distancing and mask protection. They even has a new device for the hard of hearing, an amplifier to hear each other better during visits.
Smith says, “Seeing them face to face and knowing that they are OK is one of the best things that we can do for the families.”
Social Distance Visit, courtesy Westhills Village
Technology can also come in handy. Families can also keeping contact with phone calls, FaceTime and zoom meet ups.
“When there is a need, people get creative and they are willing to do it if they have no other way,” says Smith.
Residents gardening, courtesy Westhills Village
Family members also reach out with good old fashion snail mail, the use of delivery services to get residents what they may need. Westhills has also ramped up their on site pantry store to help residents with shopping needs and are teaching classes on the technology that may be new to residents.
Smith says, “We have people that are very capable of doing on line shopping, and maybe just needed a little direction so we have been doing a lot of classes, on how to do instacart and shop on line through those places that do curbside pick up.”
To keep up spirits, the staff is keeping residents active with programs available like striker bike exercise and gardening. Retired pastors are leading prayer circles and support groups to help with metal health needs.
Amplified hearing technology, courtesy Westhills Village
Smith says staying in touch is key to avoid jumping to conclusions about health of a loved one.
“Communication is probably the biggest thing that I can say to keep in contact with your loved ones, understand that they are having some frustrations with being here not being able to see their loved ones and they may express that, but there is many ways that we can stay in communication,” says Smith.
Staff are seeing more telehealth visits for medical appointments. Staff also does wellness check on residents and try to accommodate needs as they arise.