In the age of COVID-19, relatives of nursing home and long-term care facility residents remain concerned about the lives of their elderly loved ones. Many of these residents are the most vulnerable to this terrible pandemic. As a result, these facilities must continue to implement and improve measures that protect the lives and ensure the safety of each resident.

New York City along with the state’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities are among the places in our country that have been hardest hit by COVID-19. The results have been tragic, but many health care workers continue to do their best to provide proper care during these uncertain times.

More than 5,000 deaths in New York nursing homes

Through May 8, more than 5,000 deaths in New York’s nursing homes were attributed to confirmed or presumed COVID-19 cases. And, sadly, those numbers will continue to grow.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to provide daily briefings, reassuring the public about the state’s dealings with this unprecedented situation. At a recent briefing, he once again declared that nursing home residents suffering from COVID-19 must be transferred to different facilities if they cannot be properly cared for.

If you have a loved one currently in a nursing home or long-term care facility, here are some things you can do:

  • Get daily or weekly updates from care facility officials. Be proactive and insistent. You want to learn about the safety and precautionary measures that the facilities have implemented. You also want to know whether the health of your loved one has taken a turn for the worse.
  • In-person visits likely cannot occur during this pandemic. Regardless, stay in contact with your loved ones as much as you can. If they are still lucid, virtual visits are a possibility through Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Google Duo and Skype. You can also write letters of support and send cards.
  • Stay in contact and form a support group with other families you know whose parents are in the same or similar facility. They, too, are likely experiencing the anxiety and concern that you have. You will find kindred spirits and comfort.

Tears of concern as well as tears of anger are not uncommon during these difficult days confronting COVID-19. This contagion has surfaced with terrible results. It is crucial to remain up to date and try to find an uplifting message somewhere.