Caring for the elderly during COVID

I have been working with adults for five years, and I am always excited to help them because I know that they cannot do certain things by themselves. I found a place in Yuma where I love to work and enjoy every moment of my life.

The Sahuaro Foundation serves more than 2,000 Yuma residents with its various programs and more than 14 group homes, each of which features different ages, behavioral health, adult care and children’s day-care.

Each of my co-workers has a different take on their calling of caring for older people:

  • Lorena: “I love to help older people. It is a gift that God gave me.”
  • Arlette: “What I like about working here is that I do what I love, which is to help these people, sometimes they can't do a lot of things like showering himself, so I help them bathe, change their clothes, and feed them,” Arlette said.
  • Julia: “I treat them as my grandparents as they need a lot of affection. I love to be able to give them a little happiness to their lives.”
  • Joan: “We take care of them a lot as well our staff. We don’t want anyone to be sick, and we are attentive to any alert.”
  • Antonio: “When I started training to work with Sahuaro, they told me that I had to take security measures for my health and others since there are elderly adults. They are very vulnerable, and they can catch the virus very quickly.”

People who work in Sahuaro must wear a face mask all the time. They can only remove it when it is time to eat, as soon as they finish, they must put it on again since it is for the safety of the clients.

Before employees begin each shift, a person at the door is waiting to take their temperature and, if it is elevated, they must return home and come back a doctor’s note verifying that they do not have the virus. Now we must be cleaning constantly, disinfecting all rooms with chemicals. We need to have antibacterial gel in every spot of the house, and the bedsheets and blankets must be changed often for our clients’ safety. 

We must also take the temperature and blood pressure of clients often since, in other group homes, clients have been sick. If we see anything unusual, we must notify our manager immediately to make sure that it is not COVID-19.

Since the pandemic, clients are not able to participate in activities but must instead remain in their rooms. Perhaps worst of all, visits are limited since relatives can bring the virus and spread it to those inside the home.

Life goes on, however, and caring for this special population remains a constant joy.

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