Many people, including seniors, are hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine due to its rapid development and questions about its efficacy. While this is common and natural, any concerns should be rooted in fact and not speculation.
It’s important to debunk any myths and address any uncertainties and anxieties surrounding the vaccine and how it will affect you and your loved ones. If you’ve been struggling to have that discussion, here are some ways to talk to your aging loved ones about the COVID-19 vaccine.
1. Encourage open discussion
If you and your loved one have different opinions on taking the COVID-19 vaccine, have an open and honest discussion with them. Listen to their concerns and hear what they're saying, then address them in a non-combative way.
Hearing someone state an opinion that's different than your own can be frustrating, especially when it is in regard to their own health and well-being. Be respectful during this conversation, listening to their complete thoughts without interrupting or making aggressive counterarguments.
2. Address any concerns
Once you've heard your loved one’s thoughts on the vaccine, talk through each concern they brought to light. Instead of just discussing why the vaccine is necessary and beneficial, address each issue, make a point to understand where it stems from, and provide evidence to resolve it.
Most people are not scientific experts, and they may not be reading through medical journals to fully understand the vaccine. It's normal to have concerns based on misconceptions or fears. Before you present your case, make them feel heard and validate their feelings.
3. Discuss the facts.
The best argument for the vaccine is the scientific proof that shows its effectiveness. During your conversation, discuss some of the misconceptions about the vaccine and back it up with evidence from the CDC. Explain how the vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19, that the vaccine does not affect your DNA, and that it is not riskier for seniors than any other age group.
There is a lot of misinformation about the vaccine on the Internet and in the media. However, their goal isn't to provide helpful information but rather sensationalize a sense of panic in order to create committed viewership. Make sure any information you are sharing is backed by public health officials.
4. Talk about the social benefits.
Seniors are a high-risk group for the coronavirus. Because of the health and safety concerns, many have not left their residence or seen their family and friends in person since March of 2020. They've missed birthdays, holidays, and other family gatherings because of the risk of getting sick from the virus.
Remind your loved one that once they get the vaccine, they'll have more options for socialization, which will ultimately assuage the loneliness and isolation many seniors are experiencing right now. Getting the vaccine doesn't preclude someone from wearing a mask or taking the proper safety precautions, but it does allow for more social interaction with less of a risk.
Grandparents can see their grandchildren, attend small family gatherings, and resume more “normal” activities once they receive the vaccine, and rest assured that they have a much lower risk of contracting the virus. Additionally, if they are residents of a senior living community, they can be more social with the other residents and perhaps even have extended visits with loved ones.
5. Have them speak with a trusted medical professional.
Sometimes it can be difficult to sell a medical argument if you aren't a medical expert. Have your loved ones' trusted doctor take the time to make a quick phone call and discuss the benefits of the vaccine with them. Hearing the opinion and expertise of a medical professional whom they trust may reassure and encourage them to get the vaccine, easing any concerns they have about it.
Have questions about senior living communities and how they are handling the COVID-19 vaccine? Welcome Home Senior Services and Placement Company can connect you with any of the hundreds of Florida communities we represent. Contact us today and let us know how we can help you and your family.