If your mother or another loved one is currently staying in an assisted living facility, it is only natural to have concerns. Currently, COVID-19 cases are surging in assisted living and long-term care communities, threatening the health and life of those living in them. It’s natural to wonder if your mother is safe and question whether she would be safer with you at home. In order to better assess your options, you should think about the following questions:
Are There Currently Cases of COVID-19 At Your Mom’s Assisted Living Community?
Unfortunately, many nursing homes currently have an outbreak of COVID-19. However, in some rural areas, population density is low enough that cases have not yet occurred. If so, you should weigh the odds that a case will occur before you remove your mother. The staff at your assisted living community may have the best information to help you weigh those odds.
What Level of Care is Being Provided at Her Current Home?
Talk to the staff and ask about what kind of precautions they are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between cases. While assisted living facilities are used to providing care to residents, they are not used to thinking of their charges as infectious. They therefore typically have less access to precautions that stop the spread of respiratory diseases, such as masks, gloves, frequent handwashing, and hygiene practices. If your loved one shares an eating hall with others or a room with others, the odds increase that he or she will catch COVID-19 should an outbreak occur.
What Level of Care Could Be Provided at Home?
While you may be better able to protect your mother or other loved one from the spread of COVID-19 at home, you may not be able to meet his or her other care needs. If your mother needs constant supervision, cooking, feeding, or other time-consuming tasks performed for her you may not be able to meet those needs. In some cases, your mom may be safer in her existing home, even with a risk of COVID-19.
Can Mom be Easily Returned to Assisted Living—And When?
If you do end up trying to bring your mom home, you should strive to have a plan in place to bring her back to assisted living when you deem it is safe. Most facilities have long waiting lists and won’t simply save your mom’s place for her until the risk of COVID-19 is over. If you can only afford to have your mother with you for a short period, it may be better to leave her where she is than risk having to bring her to an assisted living facility that doesn’t meet your standards when the pandemic is over.
It is also wise to consider when the risk of COVID-19 will be over. According to Forbes, experts aren’t sure whether the COVID-19 virus will be a seasonal disease that sweeps through just like the flu. They also aren’t sure when the current wave of infections will be over. So, you must consider:
- How long can you have your mom at home?
- What level of risk is acceptable?
- What does her path back to assisted living look like?
Trying to minimize your mother’s risk of getting infected with COVID-19 isn’t a simple process. Remember to lean on friends, family, medical professionals, and other experts like the Professional Geriatric Care Managers at Aging Life Network to help you make the best decision possible for your mom.