Changing Perspectives on Senior Living as Result of the Pandemic

We know that elders are at higher risk of getting coronavirus. Why? Because many elders have chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and respiratory illnesses. These underlying conditions make our elders more susceptible and they are often immune-compromised making them susceptible to secondary illnesses.

Recently there have been many deaths in our senior living facilities, long term care facilities, and nursing homes. You may be concerned that your elder is now at even greater risk of getting coronavirus, and your fears are well-founded. The factors that increase risk at a senior living facility are test shortages; personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages; staff shortages; shared rooms; physical contact with staff and other elders; and transfers of elders between the nursing home and the hospital and back to the nursing home.

So, we know that the risk of getting coronavirus is greater at a senior facility. But it is difficult to accept that best practices require that the facility responds to the risk by doing the following: limit visits, yes that means you can’t go to visit your elder; no communal dining; no group activities; restrict each elder to their rooms; and refusal to transfer your elder during this crisis to another living arrangement.

Maybe you were thinking about taking your elder out of the senior living facility and caring for your elder in your own home. The sort of “nuclear family” with all members sharing one community, from the babies to the elders, is still practiced in many more agrarian societies, where the adult children are expected to care for their elders until death. But is that even possible now? Is that even allowed by the policy of the facility they are in? What is the policy? What is the new law regarding coronavirus?

Perhaps this pandemic will change the way we care for our elders in the future. Alternatives such as retrofitting existing homes to accommodate the elderly, moving your loved one to a senior community with individual home units, or having your elder move in with you. Some states allow a small secondary independent living structure such as a granny pod or backyard cottage so that there is some separation between the elderly and the other generational members of the family. The pandemic may result in an increase of living arrangements of this type for those who can avail themselves of such options. Overall, the pandemic will certainly make us rethink the care of our elderly loved ones.

If you are wondering what your legal rights are, and what your elder’s legal rights are, give us a call. Anyone in a senior living facility or nursing home needs an advocate.

Written by Joan van Oss

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We are aware that everyone has been affected by the recent response to COVID-19 but we hope that you find some comfort in knowing that we are still operational and here to assist you.

Whether you are a current client or if you are looking for family law or estate planning assistance, our team is here for you and will continue to be available to address your concerns.

To the extent possible, we will offer remote consultations and provide services from a distance.

You may message us here, email our office at, or call 815-600-8950 and one of our team members will be able to assist you.

This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.


This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.

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