Three Ways the Pandemic Will Change Home Care Needs.

Almost one year into an unprecedented pandemic, the need for home care is growing due to safety concerns and the shift in daily living.  Older adults have experienced greater adverse effects from the pandemic compared to all other age groups. Some of these include more severe complications, higher mortality, disruptions to daily routines and access to care, difficulty in adapting to technologies like telemedicine, and increased isolation.

Traci Dobronravova, Director of Seniors At Home, shared that in 2020 Seniors At Home provided over 350,000 hours of home care to seniors in the Bay Area. She expects even more hours of care to be needed in 2021 since all of the adverse effects on older adults can have negative impacts on their well-being and safety, and home care can offer a solution.

caregiver helping senior

Let’s look at how these factors have changed the need for home care and how to tell if your loved one needs assistance.

The Need is Growing

According to Forbes, as the pandemic shifts the health care delivery system and telehealth increases, the need for home-based care options will only continue to grow. Hospital patients are now being discharged sooner, thus creating a greater need for in-home recovery care.

People are also delaying or avoiding hospitalization due to concerns about contracting COVID-19. A recent survey showed that 54% of consumers cited fear of contracting the virus as a primary reason to delay care. As older adults delay surgeries, rehab, or other treatments, they continue to need help at home, which again, increases the need for home care.

Communication and Advocacy

Many families are not able to visit their loved ones, or perhaps have significantly reduced their visits since the pre-pandemic days. Therefore, they may not have an accurate view of the situation.

How do you know if your loved one is coping on their own or is adequately cared for by an aging partner?

Traci advises that many red-flags are simply not detected in phone or video calls. These include the risk of falling inside the house, medication mismanagement, sores, bouts of depression, or general decline in functional ability. Many families are turning to in-home caregivers as regular support for their loved one. Caregivers are able to notify family when they notice problems or related issues that require intervention.

Some family members may not be able to assist with the organizational or financial details as they have in the past, such as arrangements for medical care, managing insurance claims, household issues, or paying bills. These are difficult enough to manage locally, let alone from a long distance. This is when a care manager may be needed. A care manager can advocate for the loved one and help take the stress off the family by organizing care, arranging transportation, or connecting with other resources and ensuring the older adult is safe and getting the support needed.

Isolation and Connection

Isolation for seniors was already a growing problem, and now with the pandemic, it is a serious health threat. Many seniors find themselves without family visits or social contact for long periods, creating a vital need for care and companionship.

As communication turns virtual, a caregiver can also help older adults connect with their families, professional services, telehealth or engaging in activities, such as online social groups and chats.

There are many ways to assist older adults to remain healthy and safe during the pandemic. Home care is one solution for many seniors affected by the pandemic. The goal is to provide needed care and support to older adults to help avoid the physical and emotional decline that our loved ones may be experiencing.

Seniors At Home’s primary goal has always been to provide clients with our award-winning care while keeping them and our staff safe and healthy. We continued to do this during the pandemic, by following CDC guidelines. If you or someone you know needs assistance, reach out to Seniors At Home for a free assessment—415-449-3700.

Seniors At Home is a division of Jewish Family and Children’s Services, a trusted nonprofit institution that has been providing care since 1850. Our services are funded by fees and by donations for those who cannot afford the full cost of care for these critical services.

If you would like to make a donation, please contact Barbara Farber at [email protected] or 415-449-3858, or give online.