Published February 1, 2021
Apart from a small group of centenarians who lived through the 1918 flu pandemic, 2020 was a year unlike any other. And while the world is beginning to see glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel, the challenges in front of us are far from over.
Perhaps for no group is this more true than our nation’s seniors who have continually fought social isolation and the threat of their own mortality for almost a year now. Backing them up are their loved ones who have worked tirelessly to maintain their safety and independence.
With this new year, it’s an important time to consider how to continue supporting our loved ones in 2021.
Here are several key areas to think about for the seniors in your life.
While COVID-19 cases continue to climb, vaccines are starting to work their way into our communities.
It seems more of us daily know someone over 65 who has either received their first shot or is scheduled to get it soon.
Check out this state by state vaccine tracker. But zooming out, it will ultimately begin to relieve pressure on the healthcare system as less seniors and at-risk folks need to be hospitalized.
That in turn will help open up more of society for everyone.
While full inoculation doesn’t mean vigilance goes away, it does mean that seniors may be able to start shedding some of the anxiety that comes with the seemingly simple, bygone activities of going the store or sitting outside for lunch.
For seniors who haven’t gotten their first shot yet or a scheduled date, it’s important to confirm if their age group is eligible and register ASAP. And make sure to look at your local vaccine registration process because progress right now varies, sometimes dramatically, by state and local community.
If you’re a caregiver and your loved one has been largely isolated throughout the pandemic, now is the time to double down and help them stay connected to the world.
Video chat has proven to be an irreplaceable tool in this new normal we live in.
Many caregivers we talk to find that you need to proactively manage this like other aspects of care. That is, you need to be the one to make the call and get on a zoom or facetime with them or push other family members and friends to do the same.
Another thing to look forward to is that the weather will begin to warm up.
Starting to plan outdoor, socially distanced visits with loved ones will be a godsend to many who have been in their houses for months.
Speaking of home, when you think about how to improve safety and independence, take the time to better understand how your loved one’s home is physically arranged.
There are often small changes that can lead to big gains and more peace of mind.
Let’s look a few big ticket items that are easy and cost effective to change:
This is the collection of home technology that observes and even reports on what’s happening inside the home. Here are some popular products to consider:
These are just a few ideas to help get you started for supporting your loved ones in 2021.
If there’s one thing we can predict about the coming year, it’s that our daily lives will continue to be challenged and we must expect the unexpected.
While it’s not going to be a straight line to the next normal, we can pave the way for a better aging in place experience for the seniors in our lives who rely so dearly on our help.