Caregiving in 2021 – Planning for Success

Published February 1, 2021

Mother walking with daughter

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. 

Coming up for Air

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.

Vaccine bottles

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.

Free medical alert guide

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. 

Maintaining a 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.  

headshots of people on a video chat

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. 

Securing the Home 

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.

home and safety prevention ideas

Physical Safety

Let’s look a few big ticket items that are easy and cost effective to change: 

  • Tripping hazards – Examine the living space for rugs, wires, and all other objects on the floors that could cause an older adult to trip and fall. Removeor secure all of them so that the areas are made completely safe.
  • Lighting – Night lights or smart lights are invaluable to add in key spaces that are used at night. Think about the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, at the top and bottom of stairways, and hallways. It’s all too easy to be disoriented during the middle of the night and make a wrong move.
  • Support bars – These are easy to buy at the local pharmacy, online, or at a medical supply store. You can quickly install them in and around the shower and other parts of the bathroom where the majority of falls typically occur.

Passive monitoring

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: 

smart home illustration

  • Motion sensors – Small devices placed throughout the home to observe trends in movement and help caregivers catch worrisome patters or emergencies. 
  • Heart rate monitors – Wearables that automatically report back to a centralized system.
  • Medical alert systems – Small pendants that you press during a fall or emergency to get immediate help. 
  • Medication monitoring – Devices that automatically track medications taken, send reminders, and ensure doses aren’t missed. 
  • Water detection – Simple systems that remotely alert water leaks in the home. 

Putting it all Together

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. 

Free medical alert guide

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