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Caring for seniors under the "new normal"

Caring for seniors under the new normal requires us to follow new safety protocols

A few months ago, who would have thought that seeing our clients would involve wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE). We mostly see people donning the PPE in laboratories or in caring for highly contagious patients. However, the new normal in caring for seniors necessitates this drastic measure.

This global pandemic has really changed the way we do our job. While we have always put our clients' safety as our number one priority, we gained a deeper understanding of what it really means. Putting our senior clients first would mean sacrificing our own convenience and devoting our time to learning more about how to better serve them safely.

So, what is the new normal in caring for seniors?

For us who are seeing seniors in retirement homes and long-term care facilities, we abide by their safety rules and regulations. Our therapists wear a mask and face shield before entering the homes, change gowns between patients when required, and use gloves when appropriate. Of course, there is the conscientious washing of hands before and after seeing a patient. To prevent cross-contamination, we also try to limit one therapist per facility.

We have to be thorough in asking the necessary questions to our clients before seeing them, such as if they show symptoms of cough, cold or flu or if they have been exposed to someone who is showing those symptoms. This is one crucial task that we take seriously. We also have to be mindful of our own symptoms. If the therapist feels unwell, he or she postpones seeing the patients until he or she is tested for COVID-19, follows quarantine guidelines and is medically cleared to resume work. We never want to take chances.

This global pandemic has certainly taught us how much we are willing to sacrifice for our seniors. Our team has seen heroes in the retirement homes and care facilities we visit -- the nurses, care aides, cooks, and other staff. We admire them for being creative and willing to go the extra mile to keep our seniors active, healthy and happy.

We are inspired, more than ever, to continue finding ways to help our seniors in making their lives worth living in this unprecedented time.

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