Back in March, as the pandemic was beginning to hit, my husband and I took our daughter, Fiona, to the beach one Sunday morning. The roads were deserted and it was still chilly out, but we had a fun time running around and playing in the sand with our dog, all dressed in our winter coats.
Of course, when COVID hit, none of us had any idea how serious or long-lasting it would be (early estimates suggested things would be back to normal by the end of May, at the latest). If there was any good news, it was that the pandemic struck just as the weather in New England was about to improve.
Yes, we had to endure lockdowns and were kept physically apart from friends and family. But at least we could take walks, eat outside and enjoy lots of other outdoor activities.
Sadly, even that silver lining is about to go away. There is no clear end in sight to the pandemic, and as the days get shorter and the winter weather arrives, we will all have to work harder to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and in good spirits.
Winter is Especially Difficult for Older Adults
Here in Massachusetts, the colder weather brings with it uncertainty and inconvenience. Windshields need to be scraped, front steps need to be shoveled, and power outages need to be anticipated and planned for.
All of this is particularly hard on older adults, many of whom (even under the best of conditions), may find day-to-day living a challenge. With the pandemic, there are added elements of uncertainty — everything from bare supermarket shelves to whether or not another surge is coming.
Based on the number and urgency of phone calls we have received these past several weeks, we know that the children of our clients are concerned, as are we for our parents.
Assisted Living is a Better Option
You won’t be surprised to hear that we are proponents of assisted living and all that it has to offer! Winter and COVID make this an even more attractive option.
No matter the weather, if your loved one lives in an assisted living, meals and medicine will be provided, housekeeping services will continue, and professional caregivers and emergency services will be available as needed, around-the-clock, seven day a week.
If home care needs go unmet and family is not nearby to assist with daily life in a safe and timely manner, these assurances can make assisted living a preferred choice.
As for the risk of COVID exposure, assisted living communities have implemented a vast number of policies and procedures over these past several months. They frequently test staff and residents as mandated, pay close attention to who enters the facility, and follow strict new protocols to prevent the spread of infection.
Of course, there are still unknowns in an assisted living. But there can be many more if you try to piece-together and oversee in-home support on your own.
Every year at this time, New Englanders like to joke about the coming winter season. We take special pride in our ability to endure whatever it may throw our way.
For seniors and their adult children like Alyson and me, however, it can be a particularly treacherous and unnerving few months. If you are concerned about what’s coming, now is the time to consider moving the older loved ones in your life to a place where they will be safe and well taken care of.