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Caregivers Face ‘Selfless Decision’ When Advising Loved One About COVID-19 Vaccine

Patti Singer
Younger people caring for elders may feel challenged by deciding whether their loved one should get the COVID-19 vaccine. Video by Patti Singer Media for Minority Reporter Media Group

Making the decision on whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine for yourself is one thing.

Patients and staff who’ve received COVID-19 vaccination at Anthony L. Jordan Health Center leave messages about their motivation. Provided by Anthony L. Jordan Health Center

Making it for someone else is another story.

Brandie Jackson works as a health home care manager at the Anthony L. Jordan Health Center. In her job, she helps people overcome issues such as food insecurity, economic issues or housing problems that are barriers to a healthy lifestyle.

These days, she’s also talking with younger caregivers who are weighing the decision about the vaccine for an elder loved one.

Jackson said patients who are 65 and older have welcomed the vaccine because they remember polio and other diseases that have since been prevented by vaccines. Jackson and her team educate younger caregivers on the COVID-19 vaccine and help them sort out myth from fact as they consider what is best for the person they love.

She spoke with Minority Reporter about what those conversations sound like:

What is your message?

I’m focused on vaccine education. I’m trying to provide them with facts about the vaccines. It’s information from the CDC and from scientists. I allow them to take in the information and ultimately make the decision that is best for them.

If I’m 40 and making a decision for myself, is that a different decision for a parent or grandparent in their 60s, 70s or 80s?

Realistically, it is a different decision. Sometimes the person doesn’t look at it like that. They want to do what’s best. When they’re thinking about it, they’re thinking, ‘If I’m not going to do this for myself, I’m not going to do that for my loved one.’

Do you have to think of the other person and not think of yourself?

Sometimes caretaking is put on folks whether they want to do it or not. With COVID and the vaccine, people were forced to make these decisions. … It’s not a one-time conversation. In this field we do have to revisit conversations many times, just to get them to think about it. … It’s about making a selfless decision. Sometimes when we’re put in a position to make a decision for someone else, we’re thinking a lot of times how is this really going to affect us as opposed to how it will improve their lives or make it worse.