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Navigating The Role Of Caregiver During Covid

Care Giver Kuel Category Expert: Lisa Gates

Each of us has been affected by COVID. Feelings of frustration coupled with days of despair, longing for those times when life was “normal,” seeing friends and family without any restrictions, makes us realize how lucky we were and how the simplest of things were taken for granted. 

Many of us live miles away from our loved ones, whom we cannot see now due to quarantine restrictions. Or, due to self-imposed guidelines wanting to keep our loved ones safe. Perhaps, they are in senior living communities with strict guidelines not allowing personal visits. Telephone calls, Zoom, and Skype are taking the place of those visits. The caregiver role now has become even more frustrating and important.   

Help Is Available OnLine:

This past week I attended an excellent Zoom workshop titled, “Isolation During Covid 19” hosted by Cynthia Perthuis.  Cynthia is the owner at Senior Care Authority and Park Royal hospital located in Southwest Florida. Listening to the presenter, and following the ideas shared within the “chat box”, I realized how education and camaraderie is paramount right now. Many free webinars and Zoom calls are offered free of charge and it is all located at one’s fingertips. Join LinkedIn and Facebook and connect with professionals– follow senior isolation, caregivers and any other important topics. 

My Personal Care Giver Role:

“My father is a young 92-year-old, who eventually may need more care.”

Lately, my out of state caregiver role took on personal meaning for me last week. Recently, my father’s senior living community started accelerating the sales process of orchestrating his move and taking control. Working within the senior living industry, I pride myself with having the knowledge to ask pertinent questions prior to any immediate move. My father is a young 92-year-old, who eventually may need more care. But, right now he enjoys his garden, sitting on the porch watching local golfers play their game (which in some sense makes him feel less alone).  

He has been discussing going to a senior living community as an independent resident for about a year now. After my mother’s death, he knew that at some juncture his care levels may change. Through this time of Covid, I have wanted him to avoid the move. After all, he still golfs occasionally, enjoys preparing his healthy meals, and has housekeeping and lawn services. So, currently there is not any urgency to make a move. However, his community of choice feels differently. Having his best interests at heart, I felt a loss of control, as they placed immediate urgency in having him take possession with a signed contract. Right now, even though his plans were not to move until next year.

Outside Resources Can Help

One takeaway that I can share, is the importance of having a senior living advocate in your corner.”

Now, please understand there are definitive times these tactics are necessary, especially when one has a change of condition. However, that is not the case here. One takeaway that I can share, is the importance of having a senior living advocate in your corner. Someone who understands the business and can become a voice of reason. In my case, since I am family, I cannot emphasize the value of finding a third party.  1) to help eliminate your stress and 2) to act as a third-party mediator who can ease family tensions and help with impartial communication. 

As mentioned earlier in this article, a fellow Kuel Life contributor, Cynthia Perthuis with Senior Care Authority is a trusted resource as others are. If you are at that juncture in your journey, it may be time to find resources.  Most times, this assistance is offered at no charge to the family. As I have worked with these resources in my prior career, I now know first-hand and understand the importance and vital role these professionals play in easing family dynamics and communication.     

Virtual Resources:

For those living at home and caring for a loved one, there are some wonderful virtual resources available. Some even involve family interaction. One recent platform that we were exposed to is Discover Live. This company features “real time” virtual international trips for seniors and utilize tour guides to offer customized trips. Our nonprofit is in the process of applying for funding to help offset some of the participation fee. In addition, we are currently creating Zoom and live stream events that will be featured on our website. To learn more, please subscribe to our newsletter

UpComing Virtual Events For You And Your Loved One(s):

Notifications will be sent on future events —there is a great wellness event taking place September 19 & 20 in conjunction with World Wellness Weekend. On Saturday, September 19, Be Well in Paradise in conjunction  with Spiritual Communities Network will offer a full day of virtual Zoom presentations, 9 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., hosted by Peggy Sealfon, co-founder of Be Well in Paradise, and Gwen Petersen, founder of Spiritual Communities Network. Sunday, September 20, presenters are currently creating a variety of virtual experiences, including a livestream musical concert.  More information will be provided closer to the time. Feel free to connect with me for further information. This is a wonderful way to provide some virtual entertainment for your loved one, as well as taking some time to relax and unwind yourself! 

About the Author:

Lisa Gates has worked within the senior living industry for eight years as an Administrator for an adult day health program and served in various sales and marketing capacities with Brookdale Senior Living. She has helped numerous families navigate through their journey as a caregiver, with an emphasis on dementia and Alzheimer’s. In addition, she has held numerous sales and consulting roles within the real estate and hospitality industry. She is the Co-founder and CEO  of a nonprofit (501-c-3) Metamorphosis-3, which was created in 2019. Its mission is to provide programs for isolated seniors, caregivers, and intergenerational programs. This nonprofit will provide services in all geographic areas.  

4 thoughts on “Navigating The Role Of Caregiver During Covid

    • Lisa Gates says:

      Cynthia thank you for all that you do for the community!!!!! If you know of a senior living alone waiting for that big move, please ask them to subscribe to our newsletter and they can join on some virtual experiences, as we wait for the restrictions to lift when one feels more safe.

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