Updated: Jul 27, 2020
Covid-19 has really changed the ability for family members to stay on top of the care their loved ones are receiving. Not being able to visit people daily or weekly to check in and physically see how mom, dad or another loved one is being cared for is extremely difficult. We can't make sure that they look ok, that their apartment is being cleaned or that they are just receiving the care they should be. Many facilities will tell you about all the wonderful things they are doing during this time and post photographs on social media showing happy residents participating in fun activities. While I am sure some people in some buildings are having fun, it is not happening for a large number of seniors including my mom. I see many posts from the company that owns my mom's facility and while they have recently been doing some activities, I do not see anything close to what is portrayed on social media from many of these senior living companies. Are these events actually happening or is some of what we see just marketing? I have recently been able to visit my mom in her room because she is on hospice so I have gotten a small view into how things are.
It is widely known that senior facilities are often short staffed. Short staffed usually means they have met the minimum staff requirements set by the state, but do not have enough staff members to care for the specific number of people and their particular care needs. Prior to Covid-19 we could keep our eye out for lapses in care and also assist with some of it. For most people that has not been possible for almost 4 months. Some facilities have now allowed residents to have family visits only and usually by appointment. I completely understand and agree with the careful process being taken to protect the elderly. However, with very little family oversight it is extremely likely that the quality of care being provided is lacking. This is not a post saying all caregivers do not provide good care. I am saying that there are some wonderful people working at these places who go above and beyond with their care, however there are also many staff members that do not even come close. It is also important to recognize that many buildings are losing residents right now for reasons that include, Covid-19, death, lack of funds and just pulling seniors out and taking them to live with their families due to the isolation and the lack of oversight. For many buildings the number of occupants is lower which means the buildings reduce the staffing in order to cut costs.
How can we make sure our loved ones are receiving the care they deserve when we can't see them regularly and can't come into the building and see what is happening? I would like to hear from you about what you are doing to monitor your loved ones and make sure they are being cared for. Please click here and share your experience with me so that we can help others protect their loved ones. We will be discussing this issue further in a future blog.