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Pandemic Results: Older People Rethinking Where to Live

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Some people who were planning to move to older housing are now choosing independent living over communal living. Others wonder if forwarding to a setting where they can get more help might be the right call.

These decisions are difficult enough in peacetime, but now with uncertainty, including tens of thousands in elderly housing with care and long-term care centers, as the economy stagnates and the number of Covid-19 deaths increases. It’s full.

Telesaiguna Siogon Salvo and her 68-year-old husband Jaime move from Virginia Beach, Virginia to Indianapolis later this year to build a home instead of moving to a continuous care home for the elderly to get closer to their daughters. I chose.

“I realized I wasn’t ready to lose independence,” said Gonzalvo, who heard about the blockade of the coronavirus across the country.

Alyssa Barrot, 64, leaves her 750-square-foot apartment in downtown Chicago and establishes roots in a multi-generational condominium community where neighbors usually share dining and recreation areas and often help each other. I am planning to do that.

“What I learned during this pandemic is that personal relationships are of utmost importance to me, not the place,” she said.

Kim Beckman, 64, and her husband Mike gave up being homeowners in Victoria, Texas, and joined a community over 55 or became independent in northern Texas before Covid-19 hit. I rented it in my residential apartment.

Currently, they are considering buying a larger home. “If you’re always going to stay home, you’ll be comfortable,” Beckman said.

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“Anyone I know is talking about this,” said Wendallkornfeld, 71, who lives in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. She has indicated that she will temporarily move to the continuous long-term care retiree community being built in the Bronx.

“My husband and I are going to play it with our ears, we want to see how things go,” she said in a pandemic.

In the Cornfeld circle, at least for now, people are more than ever trying to stay in their homes and apartments for as long as possible. Their Fear: If they move into an older community, they are more likely to encounter an outbreak of Covid-19.

“We all heard about the huge number of deaths in geriatric facilities,” Cornfeld said. However, she admitted that those staying in her own home may have a hard time finding affordable help when needed.

Avoiding Elderly Housing with Care during a pandemic

By mid-August, more than 70,000 residents and staff at special nursing homes and care facilities had died in Covid-19, according to the latest count from the Kaiser Family Fund.

This is an underestimate, as less than half of the states report Covid-19 data in assisted living. Also, no data have been reported on people living independently in senior housing. (Kaiser Health News is an editorial independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.)

Sick relatives need to know the plan, but there is still a crisis to act

As a result, anxiety about the lives of the elderly has spread, reporting the lowest occupancy rate since the National Elderly Housing and Care Center began a survey 14 years ago in July.

Residents were lower in assisted living (down 3.2% from April to June compared to January to March) than in independent living (down 2.4%). This organization does not collect data on special nursing homes for the elderly.

In an individual NIC survey of senior housing executives conducted in August, 74% said families had expressed concern about moving as Covid’s proceedings surged in many parts of the country.

Overcome possible separation

The potential for social isolation is of particular concern, as the facility maintains restrictions on family visits and group meals and activities. (The state has begun to allow outside visits in nursing homes and long-term care centers, but most facilities have not yet allowed inward visits, which can be frustrating when the weather gets cold. .)

Beth Burnham Mace, NIC’s Chief Economist and Director of Outreach, helped operators implement new safety and hygiene protocols, bring programming online, and help residents procure groceries and other necessary supplies. He emphasized that he is actively responding by contacting him regularly about 19. More regularly across the site and community.

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Mary Kazulsky, 76, lives independently in Heronsky, a community of retirees in long-term care in Gig Harbor, Washington.

“We all feel safe here,” she said. “We strongly recommend that you do not enter each other’s apartment, but at least you can see each other in the hall and lobby, and on the outside deck. When it comes to isolation, 200 people: there is always someone.”

One of Heron’s Key’s staff tested positive for Covid-19 in August but recovered. Twenty residents and staff members tested positive at Emerald Heights. Two residents and one staff member died.

Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council for Aging, emphasizes that some communities do a better job than others. His organization recently published a report on the future of seniors living in the light of a pandemic.

It requires operators to make many changes, including establishing safe visiting areas for both internal and external families. Providing high-speed Internet services to the entire community. Above all, ensure an adequate supply of masks and other personal protective equipment for residents and staff.

Some families now want to arrange for older relatives to receive care in a more structured environment before the pandemic begins. They find it difficult for older relatives living independently, especially those who are frail or have mild cognitive impairment, to manage themselves.

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“I’ve heard from many people (mostly older daughters) that it’s taking too long to move moms and dads. I was holding my head in the sand. Finding a place for them Can you help me? ”I own Brandy Wine Concierge Senior Services in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Many operators have set a hiatus suspension early in the pandemic, but as long as the Covid-19 test is negative, most operators allow new residents. A maximum of two weeks of isolation is also required before circulating within the community.

However, many older people simply do not have the financial means to take action. According to a 2019 survey, more than half of middle-income earners (more than 8 million older people) cannot afford a community of independent or assisted living.

According to federal supplementary poverty alleviation, more than 7 million older people are in poverty, including outflows of out-of-pocket health care costs and other cash reserves.

Question to ask

For those who can consider luxury homes, experts recommend asking you some questions:

• How does the facility communicate with residents and family members? Was there a Covid epidemic? Do you disclose Covid’s case and death? Do you share the latest guidance from federal, state and local public health authorities?

• What protocols have been established to ensure security? “I’d like to know, do you have any plans for disasters such as floods, fires, hurricanes, snowstorms, as well as pandemics?” Milner said. “And beyond the plan, do they have the supplies in place?”

• How does the community involve residents? Is online programming-practice classes, lectures, profit group meetings-available? Is it possible to have one-on-one communication with the staff? Does the staff arrange online interactions with family members via FaceTime or Zoom? Are family visits allowed?

“Social involvement and inspiration are more important than ever,” said David Schles, president of the American Association of Elderly Housing.

• What is your company’s financial position and availability? “In my opinion, properties with a occupancy of 90% or more can withstand the pressure of Covid-19 significantly more than properties with a occupancy of less than 80%,” said the National Elderly Housing and Care Investment Center. Said Mace. The higher the occupancy, the more profitable the financial institution will be able to better pay for the additional costs associated with the pandemic.

“Transparency is very important,” Schles said.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a non-profit news service that covers health issues. It’s an editorial independent program KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) Not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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