Caring for the elderly during MCO

Make sure you are in touch with them regularly if you are living apart. Look for other physical and mental activities for them to engage in

By AZALEA AZUAR

THE elderly might have the privilege to do their grocery shopping earlier, but realistically it is not advisable for them to go outside during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period.

According to case reports from China, Italy and other countries, those who are above 60 with underlying health issues are especially vulnerable to Covid-19, generally due to their weaker immune system.

The Care Concierge team with food supply and groceries for the elderly (Source: Care Concierge Facebook)

Other health problems also contribute to the decreasing strength of their immune system. Therefore, the elderly require most of the extra care and precautions to help them stay safe.

Care Concierge Sdn Bhd CMO Anna Chew said those who are ill are advised to avoid meeting the elderly at all costs.

“Covid-19 seems to target those with pre-existing conditions, especially those with respiratory issues. So getting a cough or cold at this time is a big no-no. You might have to self-isolate if you’re the one who is ill,” she said.

Self-medicating the elders should also be avoided. Just head to the nearest doctor to get them a check-up. And yes, be sure that they wear a mask before going out.

Physically Far Apart, but Emotionally Close

“Make sure they stay at home instead of running out of the house. Assist them with their food and groceries. When items are delivered, practise the necessary hygiene steps to disinfect and always end it with washing hands with soap,” Chew said.

Since the MCO period has been extended till April 14, many might miss visiting parents and other older relatives and vice versa. Well, no matter how much we miss each other, visits need to be put on hold at the moment.

Fret not, as apps like Zoom and FaceTime would enable us to keep in touch with our loved ones.

As part of the Prihatin Rakyat economic stimulus package, free Internet will be given to all customers with a value of RM600 million beginning April 1.

“Make sure you are in touch with them regularly if you are living apart. You have saved time travelling back and forth during rush hour, set this time aside for them. Do ensure they have sufficient tasks to keep them occupied during the day and look for other physical and mental activities for them to engage in,” Chew said.

The residents, who check in at The Mansion, would enjoy the experience as they have the company of others in the same bracket (Source: The Mansion Facebook)

She also advised to get other family members or neighbours to check on your seniors or to assist them with chores such as buying groceries.

Chew said seniors who live alone are usually more restless and still want to go about their daily routines, such as taking a walk in the park or going to the coffee shop.

While some of them might know how to make video calls, many are still not technologically savvy enough to order groceries or food using an app. They would prefer eating home-cooked meals.

“Being fixed in their ways can make it difficult for them to adjust during such times. They think that a quick run to the market or supermarket carries no risk if they don’t browse,” Chew added.

Chew was told that elders living in rural areas find it difficult as there is no food or grocery delivery available.

Therefore, going to markets seem to be a usual occurrence and social distancing might not be practised in some areas.

“They also need to be in very good health conditions during such times and preferably on a daily basis, which is why staying sedentary is not good for them.”

Simple Exercise Videos

According to Chew’s observation, those staying with their elderly parents or grandparents during the MCO might notice some of their inactivity throughout the day.

“There is no blood flow or circulation. As such, the body and mind deteriorates at a faster speed. Mental and physical exercises can reverse or delay that,” she said.

Due to the MCO, Care Concierge had to shutdown its elderly daycare. As a result, the company has to move to technology and provide exercise guides online.

Chew (left) taking a photo with Smartpeep co-founder and COO Toh Ying Wei (centre) during the latter’s visit to Care Concierge, Smartpeep is a Singapore-based health-tech start-up that builds artificial intelligence virtual sitter to monitor patients 24/7 (Source: Care Concierge Facebook)

So far, Chew said the organisation had produced three videos which are available on the elderly care provider’s Facebook page, and there will be more to come.

The videos comprise simple stretching exercises which require hand and leg movements. It is all done in a sitting down position.

“Physical movements encourage blood flow, and that in turn helps the body heal by improving circulation. Range of motion is also very important for them,” Chew said.

The exercises are also made easy, so the elderly audience won’t feel like it is a chore. Even first-timers are able to follow through.

“We also used a song that is very nostalgic and familiar to the older people. Most might end up singing along if they don’t follow the exercise, or they clap along and smile. Bringing back memories is also good for dementia patients,” Chew said.

Currently, she said dementia cases are increasing as health conditions are becoming more chronic.

“Heart problems continue to be the most common cause of death in Malaysia and risk factors that come along with it like inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and such continue to plague our society,” she said.

Producing a video during the MCO is challenging as Chew had limited skills and interaction with the rest of the Care Concierge team.

Luxurious Nursing Homes

According to Chew, the elderly population represents the largest portion of the world population.

“It is inevitable that they’re currently ageing and add on to the curve. In Malaysia alone, 15% of our population will be above 60 years of age by 2030,” she said.

The Mansion was built in 2017 as a premium assisted-living facility with 24-hour nursing care (Source: The Mansion Facebook)

Henceforth, something needs to be done in order to address their wellbeing in the future. Four years ago, Care Concierge was established to provide elderly care at home. It was a new concept back then.

“Most people were still under the impression that when one grows old and needs high care, they should be put into a squalid nursing home.”

That should not be the case. Under the brand “The Mansion”, Care Concierge has embarked on new-generation nursing homes, or rather, assisted-living facilities which don’t look like your typical nursing homes.

In fact, the centre looks more like a luxury house or a resort, which is designed by their founder Martin Yap, who is an award-winning architect.

“The Mansion was built in 2017 as a premium assisted-living facility with 24-hour nursing care. We have 75 residents to date across four homes and we were supposed to launch another four homes this month.

“We believe in providing options for families so they can get help in their own homes, and the family unit can be together. When it is not possible, or the family is not in the country, they then have the option to send them to a comfortable assisted-living facility,” Chew said.

The residents, who check-in at the centres, would enjoy the experience as they have the company of others in the same bracket.

“They also get home-cooked food as we have an in-house cook who prepares fresh meals like when they are back home. They get cared for around the clock — as simple as getting a request for a cup of Milo at any time of the day fulfilled,” she said.

Chew even said the centre is also the first commercial elderly daycare centre in the world where seniors are able to go into the centres during the day and return to their families at night.

This is beneficial to their children who are working full-time jobs.

To make it even easier for working adults, Care Concierge’s mobile app also enables families to see the status of the elderly anytime.

“The info is keyed in by the caregivers or nurses managing the client and it provides daily updates for the family. Some other info includes medication management and key vitals.”

This app provides peace of mind wherever you are in the world since most family members are not in the same country or some had to be brought to Care Concierge’s centre because of their children’s work-related travels.

For more information regarding Care Concierge, you can check out their website https://mycareconcierge.com.

You can also check out CARE Concierge’s simple exercise video via this link
https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2250749738565169