5 Tips for Caregivers During COVID-19
As our nation is acutely aware, the world is experiencing a global pandemic due to COVID-19, the latest strand of the human coronavirus. As a result of this pandemic, economies have plummeted, hygienic resources have been in high demand, and jobs and schools have had to drastically restructure their operations.
The outbreak of COVID-19 is no longer a distant event to be seen on the news, but a current reality that virtually everyone is experiencing. While aging-related disorders, like Alzheimer’s and other dementias, are not inherent risk factors for COVID-19, elderly populations in general are very vulnerable to COVID-19. Conditions like Alzheimer’s may lead to forgetting important hygienic practices, like washing hands, potentially putting your aging loved one at risk. So, it is critical to help protect your aging loved one from exposure. In this blog, we will go over ways to adapt to these unprecedented changes in daily life and routines so you can protect yourself and your loved one.
Adjustments and Adaptations
(1) Be Aware of Symptoms: While this is the worst-case scenario, it is important to be aware of recognizing when your love done is sick. According to the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center, one of the first symptoms of illness for someone living with dementia is confusion. If you notice this, it is important to get medical advice from your health care provider.
(2) Avoid Venturing Out: One of the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control was to practice “social distancing,” which means reducing the number of social gatherings to attend and/or close contact you experience on any given day. This is to help prevent the rapid spread of the disease to avoid overwhelming our valuable but limited medical resources. As caregivers, you may have to reduce the number of trips you take to the pharmacy, doctors’ appointments, or any kind of assisted living centers.
One way to respond to this is to work with your pharmacists or medical professionals to reduce the number of visits you must make, like getting a bigger prescription that will last your loved one a longer time. Trips to visit your loved one at their assisted living facility may have to be cut back in order to ensure that elderly populations are not exposed to the potential for sickness. If your loved one is in an assisted living home, make sure to call their facility to update yourself about their policies and guidelines during this crucial time.
(3) Practicing Hygiene: This is one challenge for those with degenerative neurological disorders. Remembering to wash hands or not to touch one’s face is common advice that we are reading all over the news, but those who have memory problems may be unable to heed such advice consistently. One way to help your loved one in this is to set reminders, like placing signs around the bathroom reminding your loved one to wash their hands with soap for 20 seconds. Making these hygienic practices part of your loved one’s routine can also be very helpful, since a common approach to caring for those living with dementia is ensuring routines exist to structure their day.
(4) Having a Backup Plan: Make sure you have contacts in case of emergency on file. If you live far away from your loved one, try to find a trusted person who lives nearby who can respond to issues if anything comes up. While this is a time of increased uncertainty, it is always good to stay prepared. For example, what if you fall ill and you cannot (should not) visit your loved for fear of spreading the contagion? You should try to make sure someone can fill your place until you recover. ElderCare at Home can provide safe, in-home care services for you or your loved one should you become ill or need some extra help at home.
(5) Take Care of Yourself: Lastly, as a family caregiver, make sure you follow all of the appropriate steps to care for yourself and stay healthy. Take care of your body, find time to relax, and try not to overstress as hard as it may seem right now.
Coaching for Caregivers
Are you trying to balance caring for your aging parents, and your growing family, and finding it difficult to navigate this journey on your own?