Many older people find everyday life an increasing struggle. They experience isolation and their health or care needs place a growing burden on over-stretched care givers. In normal times, moving into a residential care or nursing home would have been an obvious step to explore.
The pandemic changed this. But we are now one year on from the first wave of Covid-19 infections and we are in a much better place. The vaccination programme for care staff and older people is well advanced. By the time this article is published everyone over 70 should have had at least one dose of the vaccine, which is enough to protect against serious illness.
Even without vaccines our care homes are in a strong position to continue protecting our residents. There’s regular testing for staff and clients and no new residents are admitted or transferred from hospital without a negative test. Altogether Care has also invested in the highest standards of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff and residents. Alongside this we maintain rigorous cleaning and hygiene measures.
For the time being we are still not allowing any visitors to our homes. As the vaccination programme rolls out further this will be reviewed. But, in the meantime, it’s safety-first. Our residents are supported to use tools like Zoom and Facetime to stay in touch with friends and family while we maintain distancing – which we want to be physical rather than social.
Naturally, we can’t run the full range of activities and outings that our residents have become used to. Life in our homes is still a little different. But there’s the reassurance that personal and medical care needs are being looked after and that there’s regular contact with other people in a safe environment.
Arguably, care homes will soon be among the safest places to be, thanks to vaccinations and strict protective measures. Above all, they are places where people are well looked after and not alone. Moving into a care home remains a positive step for many older people that will help them to enjoy a better quality of life. Perhaps now is the time to reconsider that ‘next step.’