To say the least, our world will be different in the post-COVID-19. Like 9/11, the 2008 market crash, World War II, and the Great Depression, uncertain times and unexpected events bring about changes in our everyday life.
As a result of the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918, nations across the globe initiated public health campaigns. They started to communicate with the public and alert them at the start of the annual flu season.
Advances in medical science after that pandemic included vaccines, which helped people avoid getting sick in the first place. Epidemiology, which is the study of the patterns, causes, and effects of a disease, became a science and part of public health as a result of the Spanish Flu epidemic.
The government became much more involved in medical science and research. The advances we enjoy today in all areas of health care, and the resulting longevity, are a result of progress made in medical science.
The development of the practical nurse, a person with a lower level of training, allowed more time for highly skilled registered nurses to provide a higher level of care to those in need. This extra time provided better care for all patients, especially at a time of an epidemic.
Post COVID-19 Will Bring Closer Attention to Infection Control
Once the dust settles how will COVID-19 change how we address long-term care and aging issues? One thing for sure, the hard-working individuals who provide long-term care services and supports are getting more attention for their efforts. During a crisis, they still offered the help and assistance that so many people require due to an extended illness, accident, or the impact of aging. They did so even though they could get sick themselves.
“The quality caregivers who are willing to put themselves at risk for the seniors has been inspiring to see,” said Jenny Novy, President of Amada Senior Care in suburban Chicago.
She says caregivers should be following the strict guidelines of the CDC and IDPH.
Technology Will Play a Bigger Role
Tele-Medicine and remote monitoring will become a more significant part of all areas of health care, including long-term care. According to Andrew Mastrandonas, CEO at Pillar, Asia’s leading home care company, in cases where a patient does not need around-the-clock caregiving, remote monitoring will allow more health professionals to kick into action as the person’s condition warrants.
Infection control will become much more crucial in all levels of care, be it at home, adult day care centers, assisted living facilities, memory care facilities, as well as nursing homes. The transmission of viral infections to individuals who already have health or age-related issues is especially concerning, especially in an institutional environment.
We have seen around the country long-term care facilities have epidemics due to COVID-19 in addition to the flu virus. Epidemics within a facility can be deadly. Since both staff and visitors can bring in infection, special attention needs to be in place to avoid the quick spread of disease.
More Precautions in LTC Facilities
The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine and the American Assisted Living Association have actively encouraged, “strong infection control policies and procedures and to adhere to basic standard and droplet precautions.”
One of the advantages of assisted living facilities is the availability of social interaction. These activities are more than just entertainment. They promote both physical and mental benefits keeping people active.
However, during a viral infection outbreak, this advantage can become a curse. As a result, facilities have taken action to keep residents and staff as safe as possible by restricting these group activities and promoting social separation and if necessary, isolation.
There are several steps many facilities have taken that may well become common place in the years and decades ahead. These include:
- Free access to online tours, concerts, online college classes
- Entertainment and exercise videos
- Game nights while maintaining social separation
- Access to technology like iPads, smartphones, computers to help them connect with loved ones via FaceTime, Skype, or a similar application
Other common sense procedures will help maintain quality care and protect both long-term care residents, caregivers, and other staff. These include:
- Keeping six feet of physical distancing for social separation to avoid viral infection
- Checking the temperature of all resident for frequently to catch infections early
- Checking staff, vendors, and staff or visual signs of infection and taking temperature to see if they are running a fever
- Maintaining a supply of personal protective equipment and make sure everyone uses these masks and other and other PPE
More American Families Will Face Long-Term Care Crisis
The fact is the need for long-term care will continue to grow in the decades ahead. Our longevity is a double-edged sword. The need for American families to prepare for the financial costs and related burdens of aging needs to be an essential part of retirement planning.
"I do think more people will begin to realize the importance of having a solid retirement plan, and the demand for good Long-Term Care Insurance policies will grow," explained Novy who sees the benefits of having an advance plan for long-term care in place before retirement.
"My clients with Long-Term Care Insurance are more likely to get help earlier, which often leads to a quality life for both the client and the family," said added.
Novy says a Long-Term Care Insurance policy gives the person options when they need care. Individuals will have the resources to be able to stay in their own homes, which, for most people, is preferable.
Expect the Unexpected – Prepare Family and Finances for Long-Term Care
The truth is uncertain times and unexpected events are a part of life and are not predictable. Even with a robust economy, an unexpected event can create losses in your 401(k) and other accounts. If your need for long-term care happens during one of these downturns, your money may not go very far. Your losses are locked in once you sell assets.
The guaranteed benefits of affordable Long-Term Care Insurance will offer you tax-free resources so you will have access to your choice of quality care where-ever you may want to receive it. You will have control and independence while you enjoy asset protection.
Plus, never forget the stress and burden a long-term care event will have on your family.
Start expecting the unexpected. Prepare your family and your finances for your future need for long-term care services. Safeguard your savings and protect your lifestyle and legacy. Be sure to plan for your longevity before you retire, ideally in your 40s or 50s, when you enjoy good health.