As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, hope is in sight with new treatments, approved vaccines, and consistent preventative care. However, the elderly among us need special attention and care to keep them safe from the coronavirus while also helping them maintain overall good health. Here are some things caregivers can do to protect their older loved ones in the coming year.

Coordinate With Medical Providers

Make sure your loved one keeps up with medical appointments and treatments. Some people may be prone to forgetfulness or lack transport to a doctor's appointment, for example. Help them obtain the support they need by organizing transportation or researching available medication discounts. If possible, attend doctor appointments with them or ask for updates as a family member to help provide the preventative care and supplemental assistance that may be prescribed.

Set Up Safeguards

Even the most effective caregiver cannot be with an older relative around the clock. A person's condition can change unexpectedly in a moment without warning. To prepare for sudden events that may signal an emergency, look into buying a medical guardian to protect your loved one. Monitors are available to warn of a person's fall, of breathing changes, or of a need for medication. Discuss the best options with your family member's doctor to provide continual monitoring of your loved one's health and safety.

Keep Clear Records

Older adults with chronic health conditions may forget when to take their medicine or when the visiting nurse last came to see them. Work with your family member and those providing care by keeping documented records of eating times and amounts, bathroom use, health care exams, and other vital information. Tracking basic daily data of this type can reveal changes in awareness, heart rate, or blood pressure representing health issues that may need attention.

Monitor Symptoms and Distress Signals

Keep close watch over your aging family member and check with any visiting health care professionals for updates. Subtle changes may mean a shift in health status before the person even realizes it. For example, something as simple as sleeping more often or speaking less might be due to a change in physical stamina or mental acuity. Changes in bathroom habits might reveal a urinary tract infection or constipation that may need medication. If you are unsure whether behavioral changes should be a concern, call the doctor's office and ask.

Arrange Respite Care

Providing consistent care for an older family member in your home or by frequent visits at an assisted living facility or a nursing home will keep you busy. You may get tired and occasionally anxious as well. Since you are probably balancing your own life needs with your beloved family member, your health may begin to feel the effects. Discuss options for respite care with your loved one's doctor or a community health service agency. You might just need a few hours on the weekend or a few days each month away from your caregiving responsibilities. Make plans before that time comes so that everything will be in place for a smooth transition. Explain in advance to your family member what to expect on those occasions when you are away.

Caregiving for an older family member is both challenging and rewarding—plan for the more difficult aspects by taking steps like these in advance.

Author's Bio: 

Hi, my name is Aditya and I am a Content Writer in Kolkata, India. I write creative blogs on a varied niche such as fashion, beauty,Photography, lifestyle, and more. Apart from writing I like to read novels, plays and short stories, also listen to soft music.