Caregiving in the Time of Coronavirus

“A View from Washington State….CoVid-19 Ground Zero”

By Tony, Founder of VillagePlan™

 

So far for the average family, the COVID-19 threat has meant doing the same things they already did to look after their parents’ health—just more intensely and more frequently: hand-washing for everyone who comes in the house, weighing the risks of trips out of the house and the necessity of home visits from home health aides, geriatric care managers, or other providers. “It’s sort of like my parents are in a fortress, and my job is to maintain and strengthen those defenses as much as I can,” one client explained.  

The coronavirus scare is also a reminder of why his family is grateful to be in a position to care for his parents in their own home, rather than in an assisted living center, where the virus has been the most deadly to this point. This is only the latest benefit of “aging in place”—that is, keeping aging adults in their own homes with family and community support as long as possible.

When family can’t manage care themselves, a growing workforce of home and personal aides may be called upon, usually through an agency earning the bulk of its revenue through public programs like Medicare and Medicaid.  But during this time of Coronavirus Crisis, it becomes crystal clear that in order to develop a workforce that can protect the nation from a public health crisis is not what Medicare nor Medicaid offer.   

Many Americans are receiving guidance from their employers and industries on what to do and what not to do to contain the spread of the virus and lessen its impact on them and their clients or customers. 

Now there’s an outbreak of an illness that appears to be most harmful to our ever-growing pool of clients. And what support are we offering these caregivers? VillagePlan has taken the initiative for years in advance of Coronavirus to train the best, maintain the best, and transform the delivery of in-home care needs for "aging-in-place" for the better. 

Our caregivers across the state of Washington are doing what they did before the outbreak—giving health aide home care, on the basis of their training, best instincts, their advanced crisis management tools, and ongoing updated communications, patchy as they may be from our government and institutions.  Also by simply interacting with the doctors and other health care professionals throughout the course of their jobs, our professional care managers and care givers receive amazing advice and guidance that is passed along to our clients.

For years we’ve opted not to make a massive public investment in elder care, or to systematize and formalize the ad hoc system it has created. Instead we’ve opted for a patchwork, mostly informal, and extremely private approach to elder care. We need these caregivers more today than we did yesterday. We’ll only need them more urgently tomorrow—and not just because of the Coronavirus. 

More than one-fifth of deaths from coronavirus thus far have been adults over age 80. Sick, aging adults need even greater care and attention than healthy, aging adults. The CDC urges older adults to stay in their homes, where they will be even more reliant on having healthy caregivers who can take care of their day-to-day needs. 

More than ever, we need healthy frontline care workers who can bring aging adults groceries, feed them, bathe them, and assist them in following their treatment plans, from taking medications to doing physical therapy exercises, as well as comforting them and providing them the only social interaction they might get for weeks, a critical factor in their well-being. 

We are pleased to be in a leading position to help the communities we serve safely, intelligently and compassionately.

If you have an immediate need, please contact VillagePlan 24/7 at 1.800.628.7649

VillagePlan’s family of regional providers include; Seattle/Tacoma based Sound Options and Spokane-based Family First Senior Care.  

Families and concerned advocates in the Seattle/Tacoma region can learn more about our local services at www.soundoptions.com 

Families and concerned advocates in the Spokane/Spokane Valley region can learn more about our local services at www.familyfirstseniorcare.com   

Published on March 19, 2020.