Is Living At Home During A Pandemic Safer Than Moving To A Residential Facility?
Pegasus caregivers in Porter Ranch and elsewhere have long provided home health care. From experience, they know that most individuals prefer to live in familiar surroundings. They also understand that you may be wondering whether you are safer aging at home during a pandemic.
Living at home is ideal for some, and moving to a residential facility is best for others. What is right for you at one time can change as circumstances change.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. The CDC has issued guidelines to reduce COVID-19 exposure in residential facilities. Start with ensuring that the facility you are considering complies with the guidelines.
Then evaluate your ability to care for yourself. Assess the safety of your home. Finally, consider whether your family or other visitors to your home are willing to comply with infection prevention precautions.
Evaluate Your Needs
Part of your decision whether to age in place or move to a residential facility is your ability to meet your:
- Personal needs: Are you able to get in and out of bed and get dressed without help? Can you bathe or shampoo your hair safely? Are you able to keep up with your personal hygiene?
- Household needs: Are you able to keep your home clean? Do the laundry? Take care of your yard?
- Dietary needs: Right now, most grocery stores deliver. But when/if they don’t, can you do your own grocery shopping? Are you purchasing healthy and nutritious items? Can you prepare meals? Are you in compliance with any dietary restrictions imposed by a medical condition or medication?
- Health needs: Are you able to take medications and follow doctor’s orders? Or do you forget what you’re supposed to do or when to do it?
- Financial needs: Are you understanding and keeping up with bills?
You may be able to manage some of these items, but not others. Assistance from friends or family caregivers may be enough to keep you independent. Home health care from Pegasus can also provide the support you require to live at home.
The most significant factor wherever you live is safety. Today, you may be most concerned about exposure to COVID-19. The biggest threat to your safety as you age, however, is falling.
Reduce The Risk Of Falling With Home Safety
Falls happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes individuals fall for what seems like no reason at all. Basic steps you can take to reduce the risk of falling wherever you live include:
- Increase your physical strength – You need to exercise. We know getting exercise is challenging during the pandemic “shelter-in-place” restrictions. Gyms and exercise facilities are often closed, and you may not have a neighborhood in which to walk. In-home physical services from Pegasus means you stay safe at home. You also benefit from exercises and movement personalized to fit your abilities.
- Have your medications evaluated – Some medications can make you dizzy or disoriented. The pandemic may preclude an in-office visit to your physician except during an emergency. However, questions about dosage, timing, or even trying something else can be answered during a telephone consultation. Don’t forget to mention any over-the-counter drugs you’re taking.
- Let there be light – Hallways, stairs, or anywhere else you walk must be well-lit. Install nightlights in your bedroom and bathroom. If you tend to wander from room-to-room during the night, install nightlights everywhere.
- Clear the clutter – There should be nothing laying around that could cause you to trip. That includes electrical cords, throw rugs, and furniture.
- Install safety devices – bathrooms need grab-bars, bathtubs and showers need non-slip mats, and stairs need railings.
Poor vision leads to many falls. During a pandemic, you may not be able to visit your optometrist. Arrange for an appointment as soon they’re able to see patients.
Protect Yourself From Exposure To Infection
The staff in a residential facility must comply with the CDC guidelines noted above. Expect other residents in the facility and visitors to follow the guidelines as well. You will potentially be responsible for minimizing your exposure by recommendations such as social distancing.
If you choose to live at home, you must also ensure that caregivers and visitors don’t expose you to COVID-19. Anyone entering your home must wear a mask at a minimum and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) if possible. Insist that anyone you come in contact with adhere to precautions such as frequent hand washing.
If you live in a facility, most services are available to you on-site. If you are living at home, you may need to venture out to public places. There’s a collection of tips here for travel and services such as the following:
- Grocery stores
- Places of worship
The precautions also apply to public places like bars and movie theaters when they’re allowed to open.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Since 1994, we’ve helped individuals remain safe and independent in their home. Our caregivers in Porter Ranch and our other locations are here to assist you with a full range of services.