Happy November! Thank you for taking the time to join me for another edition of our newsletter. I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe the holiday season is here—a magical time of year when we all look forward to special moments with family and friends. Connecting with loved ones is at the heart of how many of us celebrate, but with COVID, we also realize that many seniors and their families will still be facing challenges.
At Ombudsman Services, we work hard every day to empower the lives of the seniors we serve by staying in touch, being present when other support systems can’t be, offering companionship and connection to other resources and services—letting older adults know that they are heard and not alone. If you are lucky enough to safely visit and spend time with loved ones during this upcoming season, my wish is that you will help us spread that joy and magic just a little further this year. Here are a few ways how. You can join our ranks as a field ombudsman, helping to inspire long-term care residents. Sign up to become a friendly visitor and spend some time with a senior who may be alone this season. Or, make a donation so we can continue our mission to educate and partner with older adults helping them thrive in the community.
I hope you will read on for more about how we are helping seniors across our region right now—special tips and information for National Family Caregivers month and more. Thank you for all that you do for our seniors and our community. If you or someone you know in need of support, please reach out or have them get in touch with our team by calling 925.685.2070. We want to talk to you!
Celebrating National Family Caregivers Month
For many older adults, family members, friends, neighbors, and community members are a backbone for care and daily activities. In addition to becoming experts about a loved one, they fulfill a variety of roles that include acting as liaisons for healthcare, insurance, legal and financial services. They manage complex medication schedules, hygiene duties, housekeeping, food, even transportation. In many cases, they deal with behavioral issues and care for those suffering from disabilities or long-term illnesses. With the holidays approaching, it can be overwhelming to deal with emotional distress, coping with memories of loved ones who are gone or longing for happier times.
This year presents a unique challenge as many will continue to be distanced from family members. Every November is dedicated to the millions of caregiving families across the country, a time when we say thank you for all that caregivers do. It is also a time when we remind them to take care of themselves too. Here are some tips to consider as we make our way into the holiday season.
1. It might go without saying but maintain healthy practices. Not only do we have COVID to worry about, but it’s flu season too. Take all precautions for yourself and the person you care for. Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer when unable to get to a sink. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching your face, and clean and disinfect high traffic surface areas frequently.
2. Create an extended support team. Regardless of if they are local or not, recruit some trusted individuals to help you carry the load. Whether it’s weekly video chatting with a loved one, a weekly grocery drop-off, doing some online holiday shopping for you, or setting up telehealth services, it’s okay to ask for help. Rally the troops!
3. Have a game plan in place for if you or a loved one gets sick. It’s always a big help to have all healthcare needs listed out for yourself and the person you care for – medications, health conditions, emergency contacts, healthcare providers, etc.
4. Set realistic expectations for what you and your loved one can handle. This can help decrease any stress that may come from putting too much on your plate.
5. Make caregiving extra engaging. Have virtual bake-offs, decorating, or menorah lighting.
6. Give yourself credit and get some rest too.
Need help getting connected with other resources? Get in touch with our team by calling 925.685.2070 or visit empoweredaging.org for more.
Behind the Scenes – Returning to the Field
If you’ve been reading our monthly newsletters, then you know that we’ve been making our way back to the field, visiting more and more facilities each day. But what many don’t know is what goes on behind the scenes and the work we’ve been doing to get back out there. California has been leading the way in facility re-entry, and we’ve been collaborating closely with our state ombudsman, but that’s just the beginning.
There has been A LOT of planning and strategizing. There has been A LOT of work to acquire PPE and then hours of training and fit testing. Our team members are filling out questionnaires about their health and are tested and monitored daily. We’re learning a host of things that we’ve never had to before, but it’s empowered us even more because it’s our passion and because COVID stops here.
We couldn’t be more thrilled to be interacting with seniors and care staff in person. And while it hasn’t been easy, we are proud to be setting a standard of advocacy and care that is smart, innovative, and protects everyone involved.