COVID-19 Day 21

COVID-19 Day 21:  My dad’s senior living community has been in quarantined for 21 days.  No outside visitors are welcome.  During these trying times of having to stay-at-home, social distancing and mask wearing, not seeing older family members is yet another stressor.  I have a co-worker whose mom tested positive and was quarantined to her room for 14 days.  She is now recovered and able to join the rest of the community.  The distancing from our loved ones who are the most at risk adds to the uncertainty of the current situation.

I talked to dad yesterday and his only question was “what is it like out there?”.  It seems like a funny question until you consider the isolation he is experiencing.  The information and misinformation on the news contradicts by the hour.  The view from his window is of the mall which has little to no activity due to the shutdown.  The world around him is almost non-existent in comparison to normal.  He doesn’t mention being concerned and I avoid asking because then I would have to face my own fears.

When I sit at home alone I can almost pretend things are normal.  Going through a regular daily routine causes me to forget.  Then I turn on the news and reality hits again.  Hearing of older, high risk patients going into the hospital and the family never seeing them again scares me.  Dad has COPD and asthma, a double whammy if he contracts COVID-19.  I hope for the best but fear the worst.  I can’t visit and if he gets sick, will I be able to see him before he goes into isolation?  If this nasty flu takes its toll, will I be like so many other family members who don’t get a chance to say good-bye?

So, what should we do?  Social distancing, washing hands and wearing a mask are now part of every day.  I call dad often and encourage other family members to do the same.  I suggested to the grandchildren that their art project could be to make signs and stand outside his building to show that we are here and thinking of him.   Maybe we can teach him to video chat, although we have failed in explaining it so far.

I do know that when I see him again I will hug him every time I see him.  I will take more time to ask how he is doing and go to see him more often.  We have all discovered things that we just took for granted.  We can only hope that the memory of this will stay long after the new “normal” settles in.

To my dad and family, I love you and miss seeing you.  Until we can hug again.

How to get Groceries through InstaCart

You can access Instacart via the internet webpage, or through an app. You will need a mobile phone so that you will be able to receive text messages from the person who will be picking up and delivering your items. Note, the way Instacart works someone will receive your desired store and list, and will be picking these items up for you. Due to this, they might not be able to find all of the items on your list. It is important that they be able to text and call you, should this occur.

One of our Milestone Moves Realty team members went through the process of creating an account and ordering through Instacart and created this step-by-step guide: 

  1. To start you will need to type in your zipcode in the little box that pops up so that the website can direct you to which grocery stores are in your area. Press continue.
  2. It will have you create an account. You will need an email to do this. 
  3. From there, you will be able to select from different grocery stores within your area. Keep in mind, some may require you to have memberships (such as Costco). 
  4. Once you’ve selected the store that you would like to purchase items from you will be able to scroll down and choose items. When you find an item that you would like, press the plus-sign in a little circle in the upper right hand corner above the item. By clicking this, the item will be added to your cart. Please note, some items will have limits on how much you can purchase. There will be a little message right beneath the picture of the item saying this (such as a limit of 6 mangoes from Aldi). 
  5. Some stores may have a dollar amount minimum before you can place your order. Aldi has a ten dollar minimum, for example. 
  6.  Once you have placed everything you would like to purchase in your cart (and it reaches the minimum dollar amount) you will be able to place your order. 
  7. You will need to input your address for delivery. Under the address, you will see a little box in which you can type specific instructions to the deliverer. This is not required, but if you want to limit your interactions with strangers during this time you can type in the message: “please leave delivery in front of the front door.” 
  8. Once you’ve input your address, press save and it will take you to the next step: delivery time and date. Please note, there will be a delivery charge. This charge may vary depending on where you live, which store you’re ordering from, etc. 
  9. After you’ve selected a date and time, you will be able to add more instructions for delivery. This is optional. You will also see an option: Leave at front door if I’m not around. Press continue. 
  10.  Now you will need to put in phone number (preferably a mobile number) so that the person picking up your order will be able to text you and call you regarding your order. 
  11.  Input your credit card information and save.
  12. Place order. 

Please understand that there is a higher demand for deliveries, you might experience delays in delivery times, or they might not be able to get you everything you requested in your cart.

Aging in Place

As baby boomers start thinking of downsizing, most plan to stay in their homes. According to an AARP survey, 76% of Americanss over the age of 50 are planning to “Age In Place”. In order to accomplish this they have many adaptations to consider. 

Climbing stairs, navigating narrow halls and doorways, and stepping in and out of the bathtub all may become more difficult as a person ages. Mobility is not the only challenge brought on by aging. Hearing and visual challenges may arise as well. Unfortunately, modifications to reduce these challenges happen only after a crisis has occurred. Falls are the most common event triggering the need to modify a home. 

If you are planning for possible future accessibility needs there are a few key things to consider. First, all essential living space should be on the main level of the home. That is, a bedroom, a full-bathroom, kitchen. Second, a zero-step entry is crucial, either in the garage or at another exterior entrance. If a ramp needs to be installed it’s suggested for security reasons that it be out of view from the street. Homes with ramps are often targeted by burglars. 

There are also necessary interior modifications to consider. Narrow hallways and doors are often found in older homes and are restrictive for mobility assistive devices, like wheelchairs. These may be harder to remodel due to design. Horizontal rather than vertical storage reduces the need for step stools. Removing obstacles such as rugs and electrical cords help decrease the risk of tripping. 

Consulting with a specialist such as a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) or a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) is a good place to start analysing your home.   

Introduction-Life with Dad: A Daughter’s Journey

 

I have often thought of writing about my experiences being the caregiver for my dad.  After much encouragement I am going to start.   It is estimated that one in five baby boomers care for an aging parent.  Often this happens right as we become empty nesters.  We raise our children and hopefully send them off on their own.  It’s time to enjoy the “golden years” and then it happens; mom and/or dad falls or becomes ill and life changes.

For me, it was a doctor’s appointment in January 2012.  Mom asked me to go to the doctor appointment with her to get the results from some tests done before the holidays.  I was not prepared for the news, but mom had her suspicions.  It was cancer, but not just any cancer it was Pancreatic.  I left the office and got in my car.  I drove through town crying the whole way home.  What now?? 

See, my mom was my dad’s caregiver.  He has dementia.   Life was about to change.

The last eight years have had their highs and lows.  There have been challenges both expected and unexpected.  I’ve learned about home healthcare, hospice, VA medical and even how to give shots in the abdomen.   Along the way I also learned about the issues many seniors face as they age.  My experiences are a major influence in my choice to help seniors and their families navigate later-in-life moves. 

My hope is to bring you a few laughs about my journey with dad along with insights and information about issues faced by seniors, their adult children and caregivers.  I would love to hear from you.  If you have questions, let me know and I will attempt to address them in future blogs.

Welcome to the journey.