If you are trying to make a family decision about the care of your elderly parents, THINK TWICE…MAYBE MORE than twice!!!
It is not easy when elderly people are at home with the rest of the family, who are also at home. Children are not in school; parents may be working from home and the stress goes on until life can go back to some normality.
What about the parent that you have loved so long and they have loved you? If they are dealing with the beginnings of physical or mental decline, it may be that you are thinking, “What do we do? I don’t know if I can give them proper care. I only want what is best.” for him/her/ or them. No one doubts the love between families, but this pandemic has changed family dynamics all together.
Not everyone has the built-in options of home health care professionals, but placing a family member in an assisted living care is also extremely expensive. For those who could afford such arrangements, is this truly the best answer. Think about it. Because these facilities have a “no visitors” policy, it may be the last you would be able to see your Mom or Dad face to face..or they see you, for some time to come. It may not only be a permanent separation, but a death sentence to those unable to cope with such loneliness. It is not unusual for the elderly to stop eating when depression sets in.
As we know, years ago and in many other countries, the elderly lived within the same house as the rest of the family. They had interaction, care and to die was not a lonely experience. This blog does not intend to give you an answer to this difficult decision that perhaps you or a friend may be going through concerning your elderly loved ones, but it does give some food for thought.
Think what you would want for yourself as you continue to climb the AGING ladder.
This is an informative article written by Sara Harrison in Wired.
“IT TOOK SIX weeks, several long, frustrating phone calls, and a consultation with Apple Care before Laurie Jacobs got her 89-year-old father up and running on FaceTime. Jacobs, who is a geriatrician by training and is now the chair of the Department of Medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, was worried about how her parents were coping during the pandemic. They live in a long-term care community, but they felt isolated and lonely. Over the phone, Jacobs couldn’t tell how her mother, who has some cognitive decline, was feeling or if she was walking comfortably. “The communication at a distance is very difficult,” she says. “You don’t always get the whole picture with an older adult on the telephone.”
And, like so many other Americans in quarantine, her parents were running out of things to do. “They seemed bored and somewhat depressed by the lack of stimulation, so further ways for them to interact was very important,” says Jacobs.
The Covid-19 pandemic presents a doubly complicated situation for older people: Not only are they at higher risk of contracting the disease, and more likely to develop severe infections and die from it, but they are also the most likely to struggle with—and suffer from— the consequences of prevention strategies like social distancing. For people with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or severely reduced mobility, social-distancing guidelines can be impractical and nearly impossible to follow, making prevention and treatment even more complicated.
Seniors, especially those above age 80, have been hard hit by the virus. That’s in part because they often have comorbidities like diabetes and hypertension, which make them more likely to be hospitalized. Doctors aren’t sure why those conditions make the effects of the virus worse, but both conditions are associated with greater expression of the ACE2 receptor, a protein on human cells that the coronavirus latches onto to start replicating.
Many older adults also have chronic, low-grade inflammation, a state called “inflammaging,” in which the body is unable to control the release of cytokines, small proteins that are supposed to help modulate the body’s immune response. This dysregulation could put seniors at great risk of “cytokine storms,” a condition reported in severe Covid-19 cases during which a patient’s immune system spins out of control and starts damaging healthy organs.
Seniors are also more vulnerable because of immunosenescence, a slow deterioration of the immune system that is a normal part of aging. When people are young, the immune system has a big reservoir of T-cells and B-cells ready to fight infections. These are called “naive cells,” meaning they haven’t encountered any bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens yet. When those naive cells encounter an infection, some of them learn to recognize that pathogen and become ready to fight it off if the body gets exposed to it again. “As we age, we lose that reservoir of T-cells and B-cells,” says Wayne McCormick, head of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine at the University of Washington. “It’s hard for us to make new ones, although some people seem to retain that capacity better than others.” That means the person’s body may mount a less robust immune system response than it would have done when they were younger.
Immunosenescence also means that diseases present differently in seniors, which may make it difficult for their doctors or caretakers to recognize a Covid-19 infection. While many Covid-19 cases include fever, for example, in seniors the symptoms might also be due in part to dense living conditions, under staffing, and a lack of personal protective equipment. And recently, health authorities have realized that the virus is spreading rapidly in work communities where employees are housed in crowded conditions, share long commutes on shuttles, or cannot easily socially distance, like meat packing or farm work.
Whether they live in a long-term care facility, nursing home, or in a family home, many seniors have unique needs that make it impossible for them to socially distance. Some need help eating, washing, going to the bathroom, or moving around. “You can’t do that using Facetime,” says Eric Widera, a professor at the University of California San Francisco who specializes in geriatric and palliative medicine.
Yet for older adults living in their homes, social distancing can cause isolation and loneliness. Most of the places people would go to socialize—senior centers, libraries, churches, temples, or synagogues—are closed. Families are discouraged from visiting. “We’re worried it’s going to cause a wave of true loneliness,” says Widera, which can lead to serious health problems including worse cognitive function, higher blood pressure and heart disease.
While older adults are the most likely to catch Covid-19, they also may be less likely to benefit from a vaccine. Because seniors don’t raise the same immune response that younger adults and children do, they generally don’t respond as well to vaccines. They also aren’t always included in clinical trials. “If you look at the last many decades of research, the vast majority of randomized control trials do not include older adults. And if they do, they don’t include frail older adults, who are at risk for this,” says Widera. “That’s one of our worries: That we’ll be looking at potential treatments, vaccines, but not actually testing it on the people who are at the most risk of developing this disease.”
For people with dementia or other kinds of cognitive decline, things get even more complicated. Widera points out that people with dementia may not remember they need to wash their hands more often or refrain from touching their face. And dementia patients often wander. In communal living or care facilities, they might walk in and out of other patients’ rooms, down the hall, or into common living areas, all of which increase the likelihood of catching and transmitting the disease. Diagnosing Covid-19 in those patients could be even harder, too. “People with cognitive impairment may not be able to report their symptoms very well,” says McCormick. “Even if they had a cough an hour ago, they may not remember that they did.”
Patients with dementia also have unique challenges if they end up in the hospital. Covid-19 symptoms can worsen their confusion and delirium, as can being in an unfamiliar setting like a hospital room. These patients may be terrified when they’re separated from their family or their usual caregivers and are being tended to by staff covered head-to-toe in protective gowns and masks. With nurses trying to limit patient interactions to reduce the need for this protective gear, patients are often isolated for much of the day.
Martine Sanon, a professor of geriatric and palliative medicine at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, says that usually they encourage family members to be part of the care team and to help orient and comfort their loved ones, but with limited protective equipment, and with fears about spreading the virus, those options aren’t available. “The families have been tremendously wonderful,” she says, often using FaceTime to play favorite music in the background or to call patients by a familiar nickname. “That does help.”
At Hackensack University Medical Center, Jacobs says usually they try to use non-pharmacological methods to help soothe distressed and confused patients. “The way we manage that usually in the hospital is basically staff sitting with a patient, reorienting them, using music, using touch,” she says. But with Covid-19, it’s too dangerous to have someone sit with a contagious patient all day. Instead, the hospital now relies on medication to calm patients down.
While mortality rates are higher for older adults with Covid-19, many do survive. What recovery looks like for them is more complicated. “That’s the other shoe to drop,” says William Greenough of Johns Hopkins. Older adults are likely to be weaker and to recover more slowly after a hospitalization, he says. With so many hospital gyms, rehab, and physical therapy facilities closed, that’s going to make their progress even more difficult.
None of these issues—loneliness, immunosenescence, difficulty recovering from hospital stays—are new problems, and none are unique to the virus. But the novel coronavirus exacerbates the many challenges older patients already face. “Covid-19 intensifies and complicates everything,” says Greenough.
Recently, a person asked my husband, a retired Navy Chaplain and Episcopal priest, to come over to bless his house. To be perfectly honest, I had my hesitations. We were only briefly acquainted with them and there was the natural concern about whether they had contact with anyone with the Coroavirus during this Pandemic. The gentleman said that his family was well. Our county had fewer cases of the virus than some in Florida, but regardless, it was a concern. My husband assured me that I need not go to the house blessing, if I felt uncomfortable. He would go alone. So, I began to pray… and out of the blue…
I read this statement by a father about his son serving in an ICU.
“This is a photo of my son, Dr Dillon Keenan McCarty MD. He is a third year Internal Medicine resident working the night shift staffing Baton Rouge General ICU along with another 3rd year resident and 3 respiratory therapists taking care of an unheard of 42 severely ill COVID patients on ventilators. They are making some hard decisions . He has always been one to not back down from a fight and was made for this time. Health care professionals are at an extremely high risk of catching this disease and some patients in his unit are young. Over 70 doctors in Italy died caring for patients in this epidemic. On this Palm Sunday, I am reminded of Isaiah 6 :8 where Isaiah has a vision of God, yet feels unworthy to the task. And I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.’
Pray for all our providers young and old for their courage and health. Matt McCarty MD”
Sometimes I don’t know if my writings, through Boyer Writes blog, mean anything to anyone, but this father’s words certainly meant something to me. I wrote in one of my devotional books about trying to decide whether to go to Mongolia and every time I sang a hymn with the words, Here I am, Lord, written by Dan Schutte, I knew my answer. I had to go because God was leading me there. When the Holy Spirit is speaking, a person can not get it out of their mind. God is the “hound of heaven.”
(chorus) Here I am, Lord. It is I Lord.
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, where you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.
This house-blessings was in my own neighborhood…for crying out loud…not at the ends of the earth!!! If I would go to Mongolia, Ukraine or Guatemala to serve God, why would I hesitate to go in my own home town? Fear is a strong factor in our lives…even if we call it “precaution.” Don’t be fooled, the evil one who would want a house and family NOT to be blessed, will heap as much fear upon us as it takes!
Putting on our masks, we went on our way. The House Blessing turned out to be a special time for this family. Each room and family member were prayed over in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As my husband and I left the house, a large, bright rainbow appeared in the sky…a blessing from God to us all.
Today, I share with you this song. May God lead you…for He has much for all of us to do.
All of us understand that we are in the midst of a world-wide pandemic, which has caused great grief around the world. Yet, we might not be familiar with the other Pandemics that have been endured throughout history.
In every pandemic, the world, with great loss of life, has moved through them. In all their horror, people come out on the other side to live again. We will live again…perhaps not exactly as before…but life will go on. They WILL find it.We also may want to educate ourselves on other times in history that sickness and disease have ravished the earth. it (The following information is taken from MPH Online, which is an independent online resource for public health information.)
- ANTONINE PLAGUE (165 AD)
Death Toll: 5 million
Also known as the Plague of Galen, the Antonine Plague was an ancient pandemic that affected Asia Minor, Egypt, Greece, and Italy and is thought to have been either Smallpox or Measles, though the true cause is still unknown. This unknown disease was brought back to Rome by soldiers returning from Mesopotamia around 165AD; unknowingly, they had spread a disease which would end up killing over 5 million people and decimating the Roman army.
- Plague of Justinian (541-542)
Death Toll: 25 million
Cause: Bubonic Plague
Thought to have killed perhaps half the population of Europe, the Plague of Justinian was an outbreak of the bubonic plague that afflicted the Byzantine Empire and Mediterranean port cities, killing up to 25 million people in its year long reign of terror. Generally regarded as the first recorded incident of the Bubonic Plague, the Plague of Justinian left its mark on the world, killing up to a quarter of the population of the Eastern Mediterranean and devastating the city of Constantinople, where at its height it was killing an estimated 5,000 people per day and eventually resulting in the deaths of 40% of the city’s population.
- The Black Death (1346-1353)
Death Toll: 75 – 200 million
Cause: Bubonic Plague
From 1346 to 1353 an outbreak of the Plague ravaged Europe, Africa, and Asia, with an estimated death toll between 75 and 200 million people. Thought to have originated in Asia, the Plague most likely jumped continents via the fleas living on the rats that so frequently lived aboard merchant ships. Ports being major urban centers at the time, were the perfect breeding ground for the rats and fleas, and thus the insidious bacterium flourished, devastating three continents in its wake.
- Third Cholera Pandemic (1852-1860)
Death Toll: 1 million
Generally considered the most deadly of the seven cholera pandemics, the third major outbreak of Cholera in the 19th century lasted from 1852 to 1860. Like the first and second pandemics, the Third Cholera Pandemic originated in India, spreading from the Ganges River Delta before tearing through Asia, Europe, North America and Africa and ending the lives of over a million people. British physician John Snow, while working in a poor area of London, tracked cases of cholera and eventually succeeded in identifying contaminated water as the means of transmission for the disease. Unfortunately the same year as his discovery (1854) went down as the worst year of the pandemic, in which 23,000 people died in Great Britain.
- FLU PANDEMIC (1889-1890)
Death Toll: 1 million
Originally the “Asiatic Flu” or “Russian Flu” as it was called, this strain was thought to be an outbreak of the Influenza A virus subtype H2N2, though recent discoveries have instead found the cause to be the Influenza A virus subtype H3N8. The first cases were observed in May 1889 in three separate and distant locations, Bukhara in Central Asia (Turkestan), Athabasca in northwestern Canada, and Greenland. Rapid population growth of the 19th century, specifically in urban areas, only helped the flu spread, and before long the outbreak had spread across the globe. Though it was the first true epidemic in the era of bacteriology and much was learned from it. In the end, the 1889-1890 Flu Pandemic claimed the lives of over a million individuals.
- Sixth cholera pandemic (1910-1911)
Death Toll: 800,000+
Like its five previous incarnations, the Sixth Cholera Pandemic originated in India where it killed over 800,000, before spreading to the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia. The Sixth Cholera Pandemic was also the source of the last American outbreak of Cholera (1910–1911). American health authorities, having learned from the past, quickly sought to isolate the infected, and in the end only 11 deaths occurred in the U.S. By 1923 Cholera cases had been cut down dramatically, although it was still a constant in India.
- FLU PANDEMIC (1918)
Death Toll: 20 -50 million
Between 1918 and 1920 a disturbingly deadly outbreak of influenza tore across the globe, infecting over a third of the world’s population and ending the lives of 20 – 50 million people. Of the 500 million people infected in the 1918 pandemic, the mortality rate was estimated at 10% to 20%, with up to 25 million deaths in the first 25 weeks alone. What separated the 1918 flu pandemic from other influenza outbreaks was the victims; where influenza had always previously only killed juveniles and the elderly or already weakened patients, it had begun striking down hardy and completely healthy young adults, while leaving children and those with weaker immune systems still alive.
- ASIAN FLU (1956-1958)
Death Toll: 2 million
Asian Flu was a pandemic outbreak of Influenza A of the H2N2 subtype, that originated in China in 1956 and lasted until 1958. In its two-year spree, Asian Flu traveled from the Chinese province of Guizhou to Singapore, Hong Kong, and the United States. Estimates for the death toll of the Asian Flu vary depending on the source, but the World Health Organization places the final tally at approximately 2 million deaths, 69,800 of those in the US alone.
- FLU PANDEMIC (1968)
Death Toll: 1 million
A category 2 Flu pandemic sometimes referred to as “the Hong Kong Flu,” the 1968 flu pandemic was caused by the H3N2 strain of the Influenza A virus, a genetic offshoot of the H2N2 subtype. From the first reported case on July 13, 1968 in Hong Kong, it took only 17 days before outbreaks of the virus were reported in Singapore and Vietnam, and within three months had spread to The Philippines, India, Australia, Europe, and the United States. While the 1968 pandemic had a comparatively low mortality rate (.5%) it still resulted in the deaths of more than a million people, including 500,000 residents of Hong Kong, approximately 15% of its population at the time.
SARS Coronavirus (2003)
An acronym for severe acute respiratory syndrome, the SARS coronavirus is a viral respiratory disease that caused 774 deaths across 17 countries, the majority of which were in mainland China and Hong Kong.
The outbreak occurred in Guangdong, China, in late 2002, but the Chinese government tried to cover it up by discouraging press coverage, delaying reporting of the outbreak to the World Health Organisation (WHO), and reporting false numbers—all of which resulted in international criticism. As a result, neighboring nations did not get sufficient warning to prepare for a possible health crisis.
At the end of January, a fishmonger checked into the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital in Guangdong, where he infected 30 medical staff. From there, the virus spread to nearby hospitals. A doctor named Liu from the hospital in Guangdong then traveled to Hong Kong in February; he proved to be the super-spreader who would go on to infect much of the city. Apart from seeing various family members, he also stayed in the Metropol Hotel. 23 other guests of the hotel developed SARS, while Liu’s brother-in-law eventually died of the disease. Liu checked himself into the Kwong Wah Hospital and later died in the Intensive Care Unit.
A large proportion of those infected were either medical staff or family members of those who were ill. Reportedly, at least 99 medical staff were infected while treating a single patient who had visited a guest at the Metropole Hotel. A global health alert was issued by WHO about the new infectious disease in March 2003.
The following months were a dark period for Hongkongers. Schools were all cancelled indefinitely, the streets were largely empty, and people could only watch as infected numbers increased daily. Among the residential estates, Amoy Gardens was hit particularly heavily: in just Block E of the estate there was an outbreak of over 200 cases. Residents were transferred to quarantine camps, and it was later found that the virus spread through droplets from the drainage pipes because the apartments shared a sewage system.
The symptoms of SARS are similar to flu and may include fever, muscle pain, lethargy, cough, and sore throat. The only common symptom that all patients had was running a fever above 38 degrees Celsius. Its average incubation period is four to six days, and patients are most infectious during the second week of illness, so if detection was early and the carrier was quarantined by day five of their illness they rarely infected others.
It wasn’t until June that Hong Kong was removed from WHO’s list of affected areas. There is still no vaccine for SARS; clinical isolation and maintaining personal hygiene remains the most effective means to stop it spreading. (from History.com)
- HIV/AIDS PANDEMIC (AT ITS PEAK, 2005-2012)
Death Toll: 36 million
First identified in Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976, HIV/AIDS has truly proven itself as a global pandemic, killing more than 36 million people since 1981. Currently there are between 31 and 35 million people living with HIV, the vast majority of those are in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 5% of the population is infected, roughly 21 million people. As awareness has grown, new treatments have been developed that make HIV far more manageable, and many of those infected go on to lead productive lives. Between 2005 and 2012 the annual global deaths from HIV/AIDS dropped from 2.2 million to 1.6 million.
- COVID-19 ( CORONAVIRUS)
Beginning in December 2019, in the region of Wuhan, China, a new (“novel”) coronavirus began appearing in human beings. It has been named Covid-19, a shortened form of “coronavirus disease of 2019.” This new virus spreads incredibly quickly between people, due to its newness – no one on earth has an immunity to Covid-19, because no one had Covid-19 until 2019. While it was initially seen to be an epidemic in China, the virus spread worldwide within months. The WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic in March, and by the end of that month, the world saw more than a half-million people infected and nearly 30,000 deaths. The infection rate in the US and other nations was still spiking.
With the coronavirus pandemic, people all over the world have become more aware of the best practices during a pandemic, from careful hand-washing to social distancing. Countries across the world declared mandatory stay-at-home measures, closing schools, businesses, and public places. Dozens of companies and many more independent researchers began working on tests, treatments, and vaccines. The push for the human race to survive the pandemic became the primary concern in the world.
The outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic is impossible to predict, at the time of this writing. But we can learn from pandemics in history to determine our best courses. These are our teachers – the Spanish flu, the AIDS pandemic, and more.”
Every pandemic originated somewhere. The lack of scientific knowledge and communication problems contributed to the wide-spread of the diseases around the world in our past history. Perhaps we will never know the complete truth about how the Coronavirus of 2020 started. With all our technology, there should have been only moments before we, on the other side of the world, should have known and been told. Fingers will be pointed and the truth or lack of it will most likely be denied.
However, It can not be stressed enough that in our century the responsibility ALL COUNTRIES have when a serious health problem arises, to quickly warn the world! No knowledge must be withheld if we are to save lives and be victorious over the next pandemic…and there will be a “next one.”
I have chosen to include this VIDEO from the EPOCH TIMES, “Documentary: Tracking Down the Origin of the Wuhan Coronavirus” by the seasoned, investigative reporter, Joshua Philipp. Because of the controversy about the actual origin of the pandemic in China, it is worth listening to those who have information not available to the general public. You can choose for yourself if it has merit.
All countries have a need to protect their citizens. Give yourself an hour to concentrate on the words spoken here by members of the scientific community, intelligence officers and ask God to show you the truth for your future and that of the world. Pray for the Leaders in all countries who shoulder a great burden for all of us.
Turn up your sound.