With health experts still cautioning against travel and indoor gatherings of nonhousehold members for people at higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19, many older adults now face the daunting prospect of spending the winter holiday season alone. Families must weigh many variables to determine the best and safest ways to celebrate. Those enlisting the services of an Aging Life Care Manager® are fortunately at a distinct advantage when it comes to finding ways to safely connect with older loved ones this holiday season.
During normal times, senior care providers, like San Diego’s industry-leading Windward Life Care, routinely strive to keep their clients mentally and physically engaged to enhance overall health and well-being. Aging Life Care Managers lead teams of professional home care aides, drawing on a wealth of experience to create an integrated plan of care. Aging Life Care Managers, also called Aging Life Care Professionals® or geriatric care managers, are experts with health and human services training who advocate for older and disabled adults, and help families navigate the challenges of aging.
The ongoing pandemic has spurred Aging Life Care Managers to get even more creative in mitigating the effects of isolation for their older and disabled clients who are living at home or in residential care settings.
“Aging Life Care Professionals are problem-solvers, and we understand through our education and training the needs of older adults. We can assess what is going well for a client and where the problems areas are and come up with a plan to get them the services and support they need, including during the holidays,” said Betsy Evatt, LCSW, CMC, Director of Clinical Services for Windward Life Care.
Aging Life Care Managers are already helping clients and families make plans for this holiday season. Specifics include:
- Assisting families in weighing the risk of an in-person visit versus virtual celebrations with their older or medically compromised relatives
- Discussing depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues related to isolation and the upcoming holiday season, and connecting clients with mental health professionals if needed
- Identifying the symptoms of grief, especially important this year for families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19, and connecting grieving clients with supports
- Consulting with families who plan to travel/visit in person to minimize their risk and risk of infecting loved ones
- Planning special deliveries, drive-by celebrations, and other creative ways to make the holidays special for older people living in facilities or isolated at home
- Introducing clients to technology solutions to help them connect with family and friends virtually and engage in online groups and games
- Arranging for professional caregivers to “fill in” for absent family members to prepare special holiday foods, help clients write holiday cards, and assist clients in accessing religious services virtually
Most Aging Life Care Managers offer different levels of service, from one-time consultations to ongoing care coordination and healthcare advocacy. For anyone struggling with tough decisions about family visits with older adults this holiday season, Aging Life Care Managers are the ideal resource for professional advice.
About Windward Life Care
Windward Life Care is San Diego County’s premier aging services firm, providing Aging Life Care Management®, expert in-home care, and skilled nursing services. Windward’s discerning recruitment and rigorous training of professional caregivers set it apart from other home care providers. The interdisciplinary professional team at Windward is composed of leaders in the Aging Life Care Association®. Visit www.windwardlifecare.com to learn more.
AGING LIFE CARE® is a trademark of the Aging Life Care Association®. www.aginglifecare.org Only ALCA Members are authorized to use this term to identify their services.