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Which is safer during the pandemic:
assisted living facilities or living with family?

coin flip optAmerica’s very first COVID-19 outbreak took place at a long-term care facility. At Life Care Center of Kirkland, in Washington State, two-thirds of the residents and dozens of staff members were infected, and at least 35 people lost their lives due to the coronavirus.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services later fined the nursing home $611,000 for deficient detection and protective procedures.

But for the more than 1.7 million Americans living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities – even those facilities that maintain scrupulous detection and protection measures – there are risks.

One of those risks results simply from housing members of the demographic group most vulnerable to the coronavirus – seniors, many of whom already have underlying conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular issues – under the same roof. They share the same air, food and water. Planned group activities – communal meals, exercise groups, classes, etc. – are good for social interaction but defeat the purpose of social distancing. And even when there’s not a pandemic, Centers for Disease Control data show that nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living communities are fertile breeding grounds for one to three million serious infections a year. These infections include not only garden-variety influenza, but also pneumonia, respiratory syncytial virus, norovirus, and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and others.

Coronavirus makes caregiving more difficult. But not impossible.

coronavirus caregivingThere’s good news and bad news about the COVID-19 pandemic.

The good news is that infection and death numbers are starting to drop in New York and other cities. The bad news is, they’re still near their peaks.

So whether you’re a family or a professional caregiver, your duties just became even more exacting.

How do you give hands-on care from a social distance of six feet away? And without either you, your elder, or your client infecting each other?

During the Coronavirus outbreak, is exercise good or bad for you? Yes

exercise during coronavirusYou’ve probably read about how good moderate exercise can be for the emotional and cognitive state of seniors sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. But what about your immunological state?

According to two professors of sports science, the answer depends on three things: What kind of exercise, how long you do it, and how often. “Both too much and too little are bad,” they write, “while somewhere in the middle is just right.”

There are two kinds of exercise immunity, they note. One is a systemic (i.e., whole-body) cellular response to infection, and the other, mucosal, response affects the respiratory tract’s mucous lining – the very part of your body that the COVID-19 virus attacks.

What disabled employees can tell you about working from home

working from home optWhen George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law in 1990, one of its provisions required workplaces with more than 15 employees to offer workers with disabilities reasonable accommodation. Twelve years later, in 2002, a federal guidance specifically named remote work from home as a required form of reasonable accommodation.

Today, millions of full-time employees with disabilities or chronic illnesses telework from home, and what they’ve learned can help you be productive during this time of COVID-19 sequestration.

Commuting to an office, store, or other place of business to work creates a psychological separation between work life and home life. Disabled teleworkers can’t commute, so they create this kind of separation at home. Here’s how you can too:

See the doctor without having to go see the doctor

See the doctor optThere’s a demographic group that’s even more susceptible to COVID-19 infection than elders, and that’s doctors and other health workers.

In Italy, where actual cases outnumber those reported by China, the Ministry of Health reports that at least 2,629 health care workers – roughly 8.3 percent of all cases in Italy – have contracted COVID-19 from working with inadequate equipment or being exposed to asymptomatic carriers. And sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, surrounded by people with symptoms, isn’t exactly a good example of social distancing. “When somebody has symptoms, they may be the last people who should go to a doctor’s office or emergency room,” says Dr. Andrew Diamond, chief medical officer of primary care provider One Medical. “They may be exposing other people – or themselves.”