Family caregivers are usually great at planning ahead and managing unexpected health crises, but in this new day of COVID-19, it’s not always easy to plan ahead with the rapidly changing, and sometimes conflicting, available information. Here are a few tips to help you and your loved ones stay as safe as possible and hopefully alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty.
- Stay on top of CDC updates and guidelines. The CDC offers regular updates on resources that answer questions and address concerns that caregivers may have. Allcare Home Health Agency caregivers are provided with regular updates on all CDC guidelines and required to follow them while providing care for our clients and during non-working hours.
- Avoid large crowds. The CDC recommends no public gatherings larger than 10 participants.
- Avoid non-essential travel. During this time unnecessary travel may expose the elderly to sick persons at airports, train stations, ships, or buses. Many healthcare systems around the country are becoming overwhelmed and there may be limited medical access in these affected areas.
- Monitor the health of your elderly loved one and keep communication open with their medical team. Allcare Home Health caregivers monitor our client’s health and are trained to report any changes or concerns to office staff immediately. An Allcare Home Health Agency RN, or a staff member, will communicate any changes or concerns to the family for further handling by the their medical team.
- Go to the ER only in case of an emergency. If you suspect that you or your loved one is experiencing COVID symptoms, contact your doctor.
- Practice regular handwashing. While the CDC recommends that persons wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, blowing their nose or sneezing and touching surfaces outside the home, it may be difficult to communicate the importance of this to a person living with dementia. Caregivers may find it easier to encourage more frequent and longer hand washing by singing two choruses of “Happy Birthday” in a soothing tone. Consider using a fragrance hand soap such as lavender to improve the sensory experience for your loved one.
- And most importantly, take care of yourself! The stress and anxiety of a pandemic can cause stress-related illnesses. Unfortunately, despite the risks, family caregivers are less likely than non-family caregivers to practice preventative healthcare and self-care behavior. Problems reported are sleep deprivation, poor eating habits, failure to exercise, and failure to care for themselves when ill. Your loved one needs you to be healthy.
Caring for them is important…but so are you. When your needs are taken care of, your loved one will benefit too. If you or anyone you know may need additional help with caring for their loved ones, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free virtual consultation.
Sources: Center For Disease Control, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and Caregiver.org