• Julie Katz

Keeping older adults home during a pandemic Vol. 2

If you can't keep them in, try as best as you can to keep them safe.

I wrote a few weeks ago about why older adults can't seem to stay home during this pandemic. I personally ordered on-line from Bed Bath and Beyond to avoid going into the store. However I have been there twice, with two different clients. I am now very knowledgeable about their selection of shower curtain liners.

Many older adults have resorted to living by the phrase, "Its better to ask for forgiveness than permission." They tell their adult children when they return home from going out. If your parent owns their own car and you are not their legal guardian, there is not much you can do but there are things you can ask them to do to limit their exposure when they do leave the house.

Make sure they have an ample supply of masks and are wearing them properly. So many states and retail establishments are requiring them anyway but not everyone around you complies. And make sure they have hand sanitizer with them and wash their hands when they return home.

Encourage them to go to stores either during senior hours or early in the morning when stores are less crowded. Shopping on a weekend should not be an option. Either they need to wait or someone can give a few supplies to get by until Monday.

Encourage them to get as many things at one store as possible to avoid going into multiple shops. Every large grocery store has a well stocked retail pharmacy. Large retailers like Target and Walmart have food, medicine and supplies.

If they do not feel comfortable, or are unable to order some things on line, do it for them. If they feel uncomfortable paying on line, look at the website with them and you can order for them.

The underlying reason so many older adults are going out is because they are lonely. They are not only lonely for companionship, they miss the little interactions they have with cashiers, pharmacists, librarians, etc. We all do but many of us have jobs and responsibilities that keep us busy.

Make sure people call often. That is not only you but your children, nieces, nephews and friends. Make sure they get outside for a walk or even to sit on the patio and get some fresh air. Have a socially distant outdoor visit.

Ask them to do something for you or others, like call or write friends who are in a nursing home and more isolated than they are. Have them help your children with reading and math, if the children are young enough.

There may not be too much you can do to convince your parents to stay home. They are adults after all. The most effective thing you may be able to do is to tell them that you love them and want them around for a long time and not see them take risks that may result in them dying alone in a hospital.

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