Due to the underlying medical conditions that many people of the older generation experience, the global pandemic hit this particular age group very hard. Those who are older, and especially those with already compromised immune systems and health, struggled so much as the pandemic raged on throughout the country. Assisted living and memory care facilities were a high risk around the world as there were so many elderly people in one place. The nature of this virus left many elderly individuals feeling vulnerable as they were at greater risk of developing a more serious illness when exposed to this virus. COVID-19 changed many things about our world and we can see a lot of the impacts that it made to the more vulnerable population, especially those in memory care centers.
Changes in Safety Policies and Regulations
One of the first things that the world saw was the safety measures that were put into place during the start of the pandemic. Implementing regulations such as standing 6 feet apart from one another and wearing a face mask were a few of the guidelines that were presented for the population to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Due to the high risk population found at memory care centers like, memory care in Utah, there were naturally more regulations put in place at these facilities. These more vulnerable elderly people could suffer way more if they were to get the virus, due to their age and any underlying medical issues they may have had. The drastic change in policy that was implemented throughout assisted living facilities included procedures like:
- Banning all visitors so that the virus wasn’t brought into the facility
- Increase in overall hygiene with a particular focus on hand hygiene
- Not participating in group activities and social distancing
- The mandatory regulation of wearing a face mask
- Routine thorough cleanings
- Consistent staff to slow the outside spread
Added Challenges With Memory Care Residents
When you are already dealing with losing your memory and being confused, it can be difficult to understand the need for sudden change when the pandemic had started. With drastic changes to the regulations in these centers, it was apparent that those who struggled with Alzhemiers or dementia struggled with coping with new guidelines. This particular group can struggle to understand the public health measures that were being put in place and trying to figure out why all of this was necessary. There were many residents throughout the world who felt lonely because they had limited communication before the pandemic even started – and were struggling with the even smaller amount of communication that they were allowed after the pandemic started.
The Struggles Family Members Encountered
While the pandemic was very difficult on memory care residents, it also had a large impact on the families who could not be a part of their loved ones lives. The social ban on being able to visit these facilities left many feeling lonely and depressed. The face-to-face connections are always very beneficial and the lack of that left family members missing their loved ones and vice versa. There were many protocols and procedures put in place to help ensure the safety of the residents and there are some still in place to help keep them safe. COVID-19 impacted the world and still has linger impacts on assisted living centers and memory care facilities around the world.