With most senior living communities and skilled nursing facilities restricting visitors and asking residents to stay in their rooms alone for most of the day, some families have decided that their older adult loved ones might be better off moving out of these settings and back into a family home during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an article published Monday on CNN.com

Families who have chosen to take parents out of retirement communities, assisted living communities or nursing facilities cite concerns over staffing shortages, the spread of the virus in congregate settings and loneliness. Further, this past weekend, a Dallas county judge recommended moving loved ones out of senior living communities and nursing facilities while the pandemic continues. 

Yet, as reported in the CNN article, many long-term care settings are taking extraordinary steps to meet their residents’ needs and keep them safe. Some retirement communities have started concierge services for residents who need to order groceries and fill prescriptions. Rehab centers are still offering residents valuable physical, occupational and speech therapy.

As reported in a McKnight’s Senior Living article Tuesday, although families want to do what’s best for their loved ones, moving them out of an assisted living community or nursing facility “could really be doing a loved one more harm than good,” according to the National Center for Assisted Living.

The risks are high that an older adult will be exposed to the virus in the greater community — particularly by younger individuals, who do not always show symptoms, NCAL said.

“For assisted living residents specifically, while the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] does not recommend moving residents, that’s something that family members need to work out with their loved one’s community,” the association said. “Every assisted living resident is different, so they may be a bit more independent than nursing home residents.”

Usually, however, when an older adult enters assisted living, it’s because they had needs that could not be met at home, NCAL added. “For assisted living residents living with dementia, taking them out of their routine is very disruptive to their health and well-being.”

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