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The Eldercare Advocate: Senior Connections Matter

May 31, 2020|advocacy, Aging Parents, anxiety, caregivers, Cognition, confinement, coronavirus, COVID-19, COVID19, dementia, Depression, distance, Eldercare, elders, feelings, Grandchildren, Grandparents, Isolation, Loneliness, long term care, nursing homes, Sadness, Skilled Nursing Facilities, stress, Well-Being, wellbeing


The impact of the coronavirus on our nation’s elder citizens has been enormous and has highlighted the disconnect elders experience from family and loved ones. Directives from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Federal agency that oversees Nursing Homes, is that all visitation is to be restricted, exceptions noted in the case of end-of-life or comfort-care. This has resulted in nursing home residents being isolated from family and loved ones. Family members and loved ones are also increasingly concerned about their loved ones, knowing all too well that their presence plays a key role in their ability to advocate for their loved one’s care. As we move forward from the virus, and the possibility of easing restrictions for in-person family nursing home visits ensues, the need for families who live a distance from their loved ones residing in nursing homes having access to virtual visits should not be any less of a priority.

We all need and crave connection, especially with loved ones, and now more than ever. Understanding that need, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has urged facilities to facilitate visual connections between residents and their loved ones. Many residents do not have mobile devices to establish these connections or, if so, need assistance to use them. Of the 15,600 nursing homes, the vast majority of facilities may not be equipped with a sufficient number of devices to enable residents and families/loved ones to have frequent virtual visits, especially since many facilities have upwards of 200, 400, and 500 residents. Nursing home residents are isolated, lonely and understandably frightened. The stress from prolonged isolation is documented and can be considered equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes/day. It impacts anxiety, sleep disorders, falls, cognitive decline and symptoms of depression.

Of all the states, in mid-March, Florida took swift action to manage the spread of the virus in nursing homes by banning visitation. Now, Governor Rick DeSantis, in a May 26th Forbes magazine article,[1] suggests that “we must restrict visits to nursing homes by family and friends for at least the next several months, with the possible exception of those who can prove that they are not actively infected with the novel coronavirus”. If this suggestion becomes a reality, residents and family members may not be able to have valuable in person visits for the foreseeable future. Please think about the mothers, father, grandmothers, grandfathers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, in the nursing homes all across the United States and Donate Now. A Nursing Home resident and Family member/loved one will thank you. Nursing Homes have been my life’s work. Seeing the pervasive loneliness and isolation nursing home residents experience as a result of being disconnected from their families and friends is heartbreaking. It’s important for me to find a way to bridge that gap. PLEASE HELP US!! Visit Senior Connections Matter, Connecting Seniors Through Technology https://www.gofundme.com/f/senior-connections-matter [1]Roy, A. The Most Important Coronavirus Statistic: 42% of U.S. Deaths Are from 0.6 % Of The Population, Forbes, May 26, 2020.https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2020/05/26/nursing-homes-assisted-living-facilities-0-6-of-the-u-s-population-43-of-u-s-covid-19-deaths/


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