Child and family care during COVID-19

Adult & elder care

Updated September 28, 2020.

COVID-19 has focused attention on older adults who are at a higher risk for serious illness. It is normal to feel worried or sad about family members or friends who are vulnerable and who may be fearful or lonely. If your loved one needs help from a caregiver, you may also have questions about what quality care looks like – regardless of whether the care is provided by you, other family members or a care facility.

The resources below can help you plan to talk with older adults who may need assistance, find care alternatives, and help you look after your own needs so you can continue supporting those you love. UW Human Resources adult and elder care resources page includes additional links to support and educational resources that are not specific to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Talking with older adults about COVID-19

Talking with an older friend or relative about their well-being can sometimes be hard, but it can also be empowering and rewarding. Taking the time to collect information and sort through your thoughts and feelings about COVID-19 can help you prepare for a compassionate and constructive conversation. Keep in mind that some older adults will be more receptive to ideas that come from experts or others’ experiences, rather than from a family member. The resources below can help you to educate yourself and open dialogue with those you care about.

  • The National Council on Aging maintains a comprehensive set of COVID-19 resources for older adults and caregivers. It covers topics ranging from staying healthy and avoiding COVID related scams to accessing benefits and public health guidance.
  • The Centers for Disease Control has created a form to help older adults and their caregivers develop a care plan that summarizes current health conditions, medications, healthcare providers, emergency contacts, and end-of-life care options.
  • The AARP’s weekly coronavirus information tele-town hall includes live Q&A and provides archives of past events.
  • Staying connected while staying at home is a Public Health – Seattle & King County guide to help older adults stay healthy without losing contact with others.

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Finding adult and elder care

Care finding during COVD-19 may mean finding someone who can be with an older adult physically or helping older adults access meals and health care safely.

  • UW CareLink gives you easy access to elder care professionals who can help you locate elder care services and connect you with experts to discuss financial, legal and mental health issues related to aging and illness.
  • Bright Horizons Backup Care Advantage Program provides backup care for your adult relative in their home, regardless of where they live in the United States. During COVID-19 this resource is only available to employees whose positions require them to work in UW’s medical centers or on campus providing patient care and/or sustaining critical operations
  • The City of Seattle’s COVID-19 supports for older people lists meal programs, shopping options and transportation services that maintain safe social distancing.

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Care for caregivers

Changes surrounding COVID-19 are affecting everyone and making everyday life more stressful. Caring for an older adult during the pandemic, in addition to working and caring for others in your family, is especially demanding. Remember that self-care is actually quite selfless: staying healthy and reducing stress during COVID-19 can help us adapt to uncertainty and to be present for those we care about.

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