Effects of COVID-19 for seniors in long term facilities

Seniors in care homes are struggling with the pandemic because they can't see their loved ones.

 According to CTV News, seniors in long-term facilities are at a high risk for getting and transmitting COVID-19 due to their age, lack of mobility, and possible health problems. Furthermore, seniors in long-term facilities due to issues such as memory problems and dementia often do not properly wash their hands, stay 6 feet away or properly wear a mask. This can cause high risk of spreading between these seniors living in these homes. 

Separation due to COVID-19 is a big problem amongst seniors, with health orders put out to keep them safe. From social distancing, wearing masks, and sanitizing, many families are trying to look on the brighter side instead of thinking negative.  

At the start of March 2020, British Columbia health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry put out a public health order barring families from visiting their loved ones in long-term facilities. Because of the high risk of COVID-19 spreading easier and faster to seniors, it was better they are not visited. In the summer, Doctor Bonnie Herny updated the order to allow visitors to see family members.  

At Carlton Gardens Seniors long-term facility in British Columbia, visitors must stay 6 feet away from their loved ones, wear masks, and sanitize their hands. Visitors are only allowed to come at specific times and only one designated family member may visit.  

This has caused a lot of struggles for families that had loved ones whom they wanted to visit. Angela, who has a father in a long-term facility, said, “I know that they’re trying to help my father so he doesn’t get COVID, but it’s sad because I can’t see him.”  

At the beginning of the summer there were long-term centers that went online to help families see their loved ones over zoom. 

An employee at Carlton Garden suggests that the facility would like to make things better for these families while still being safe, scheduling meetings outdoors, and offering online zoom game nights with your loved ones. 

A teenager that has a grandfather in a long-term senior facility advises that being negative about not seeing your family is not going to make things better. 

“I need to stay positive and know that my grandfather is being taken care of,” she said. 

Image Credit:  JB Jones

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