While 2021 has seen COVID-19 rates decline dramatically, experts warn the crisis isn’t yet behind us. As vaccination rates have seemingly stalled and new variants are on the rise, it’s important for everyone to stay on guard.
For seniors, especially those who are immunocompromised, paying close attention to the science behind the coronavirus is essential. As is following the most recent guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding COVID-19.
Vaccination Rates Across the Country
As of July 4, 67% of adult Americans had received either the first shot of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. While it is just shy of the 70% goal set by President Biden, it’s a number that marks significant progress from winter and early spring.
By age, the breakdown of vaccinated people in this country looks like this:
93.6% of adults age 65 and older
61% of adults age 18 to 64
12.4% of those under the age of 18
States in the northeast lead the way in percentage of population that is fully vaccinated. They include Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. Southern states are largely at the bottom of the list, with Mississippi having the lowest percentage of vaccinated people, and Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana only slightly better. Arizona ranks 31st, with only 43.5% of the population fully vaccinated.
The Spread of a New Variant
As a fully vaccinated person, why should you be concerned about those unable or unwilling to be immunized? Researchers say the leading reason is uncertainty. There’s just not enough evidence to determine whether the current vaccines protect people against the highly contagious Delta variant, and whether a vaccinated person might be able to unknowingly infect those who haven’t yet received their shots.
What is certain is how quickly the Delta variant is spreading. The variant was first detected in India in October 2020, and then in the United Kingdom. It’s now in 98 different countries and moving quickly. Today it is the most common form of the virus in California, and gaining ground in most other states.
Is This a Good Time to Make a Move?
An adult child may wonder whether or not they should encourage their senior loved one to move to an assisted living community. The benefits of assisted living are numerous and range from improved nutrition to around-the-clock caregivers. But is this the right time? Or should your senior loved one delay making this transition?
For many families, the desire to make sure a family elder is safe and healthy has never been greater. That’s just one reason why it might be an ideal time to begin the search. A few other reasons to consider making a move now include:
Assisted living isn’t a nursing home
Nursing homes seemed to bear the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis. While assisted living communities and nursing homes offer some of the same services, they focus on two different types of care. Nursing homes care for fragile older adults, many of whom have compromised immune systems. That places them at higher risk for contracting viruses of any type.
By contrast, residents of an independent or assisted living community generally have less complicated health issues. They usually are looking for a little help with personal care, and freedom from household tasks and maintenance responsibilities.
Heightened safety protocols in place
Assisted living communities have learned a lot about protecting residents from COVID-19 over the past year and a half. That’s why you’ll still find staff at Bella Vita homes wearing masks and practicing good handwashing hygiene and other cleaning protocols.
Quality communities follow or exceed the state health department guidelines and those of the CDC. Vaccination rates in well-run communities are also high. At Bella Vita, for example, 100% of residents and 90% of staff are fully vaccinated.
And stringent visitor protocols are in place, too at Bella Vita. You’ll likely be required to review a list of COVID-19 symptoms and affirm you aren’t experiencing any of them. Most communities are limiting the number of visitors both inside and out.
Isolation is associated with health risks
Setting concerns about the COVID-19 crisis aside, it’s hard to think about a senior family member spending their days alone at home. And there’s plenty of research to show that health risks increase for isolated seniors. Those range from unhealthy weight gain and diabetes to depression and heart disease.
Assisted living residents have an opportunity to safely socialize and participate in daily activities, especially if they reside in a smaller community. For older adults and their loved ones, it’s a transition that brings peace of mind.
Begin Your Search Online
Should your search for assisted living include Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, or Phoenix, we encourage you to consider Bella Vita. It’s easy to use our online form to schedule a visit at your convenience!