It is hard enough to be a caregiver, let alone during a world-wide pandemic.
Below we will share some important information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But first we want to offer some reassurance and perhaps comforting suggestions and tips:
1. Breathe. You’re doing a good job of caregiving and you will get through this too.
2. Don’t panic and this starts with breathing!
3. This illness can be dangerous for those at greatest risk, but for most people the symptoms are not as bad as the flu and if you follow the CDC suggestions you can protect yourself and those you care for.
4. Stay connected with family and friends in other ways that allow for distance. Try video chat or web conferencing – facetime, zoom, skype or phone apps like WhatsApp. Better yet, pick up the phone and call and chat!
5. If you live alone or with the person you are helping, reach out and let neighbors or community organizations know your situation if you can’t get out to get necessities. Many times, they are willing to help. DON’T be afraid to ask for help.
Consider taking precautions if you fall into the higher risk categories below:
- Older adults
- People who have serious chronic medical conditions like
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
- Low Immune System
If a COVID-19 outbreak happens in your community, it could last for a long time. (An outbreak is when a large number of people suddenly get sick.) Public health officials may recommend community actions to reduce people’s risk of being exposed to COVID-19. These actions can slow the spread and reduce the impact of disease.
If you are at a higher risk it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease. The CDC suggests that you should:
- Stock up on supplies
- Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others
- When you need to go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands OFTEN. Remember to use a towel to turn faucets on and off and grab the door handle.
- Avoid crowds as much as possible. If it isn’t a necessity….just stay home until the risk has passed.
- Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
- During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home to further reduce your risk of being exposed. High Risk Complications
The Village -to-Village network contributed the comprehensive list below to CDC, Consumer Reports and the Washington Post.
PREPARING FOR COVID-19 CHECKLIST
What you can do now to care for you, loved ones, friends, and neighbors.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, singing Happy Birthday or another favorite tune twice. Do this especially after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or first thing when you come home after work, school, or errands.
- Use hand sanitizer only when you cannot wash your hands with soap and water. The CDC
- recommends using sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. When you’re out, use it when you return to your car. At the grocery store, use the wipes to clean the cart handle and child seat, and use another one when you leave the store.
- Avoid touching your face, nose, and eyes unless you just washed your hands.
- If you cough or sneeze, use a tissue and throw it away.
- In public, avoid high-touch surfaces like elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, and touch elbows rather than shaking hands. If you must touch something, use your sleeve or a tissue to cover your hand or finger; then toss the tissue.
- Every day use household detergent and water to clean surfaces and objects you touch regularly (tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles).
- The CDC recommends you prepare to separate yourself and loved ones from others (social distancing) to reduce your risk of infection.
- Prepare now for staying home for two weeks or more.
- Get your prescriptions filled for a couple of months or sign up for the no extra cost pill packaging and delivery directly to you. Ask your medical insurer whether your coverage includes “extended-day supply.”
PillPack from Amazon:
- If you will soon need a refill on your prescriptions, contact your health care provider.
- If you have current health issues or are in high risk group, contact your health care provider for additional recommendations.
- Stock up on the supplies you would need if you got sick. Over-the-counter meds (for fever, aches, coughs) and medical supplies (tissues, thermometer, lozenges).
- Stock up on soap for handwashing as well as household cleaners, paper goods (tissue, towels, toilet paper), trash bags, dishwasher soap, and laundry detergent. Get a new toothbrush.
- Meal plan for a few weeks and stock up on supplies. Consider making a few meals and freezing them. Maybe a big pot of chili to share with a healthy neighbor or friend in exchange for some homemade lasagna. Cook ahead and you can use what is fresh. Unlike a storm, you can expect to have a working freezer, use it.
- Make a list of your emergency contacts – family, friends, doctors, pharmacy, and your designated medical agent – and prescription drugs you take. In an emergency, consider exchanging/sharing your list with neighbors, family, or friends.
- Consider your pets. Stock up on food, litter, and meds.
- If you live with someone, make a sick room so the ill one can be separated.
- Think about your family or friends who might be alone and check on them.
- Encourage them to begin their preparations and then compare notes.
- Sign up now with a grocery delivery service so it is ready if you need it.
Amazon Fresh Delivery:
- Stay well informed from trusted and local sources.
- If your neighborhood has a webpage or a social media page, such as Nextdoor, consider signing up to stay informed.
- If you are on social media, connect with your local and state health departments to get up-to-date information.
- Staying home for an extended period, may be welcomed at first, but will soon lead to boredom.
- Consider downloading apps to entertain or inform you. Your public library has books to download.
- Maybe games or exercises. Restock your knitting, painting, or woodworking supplies. Plan your vegetable garden. Write a letter of gratitude to someone you appreciate. Learn a new card game.
- Write postcards.
Finally, a few more tips from the Roselynn Carter Institute…
- PLANNING FOR CLOSURES – In the event adult care facilities or senior centers close, develop an advance plan for how you will cover this time in your schedule.
- PLANNING FOR RESPITE – Create backup plans for taking a break in the event your usual routines for respite are disrupted. Try to continue to prioritize taking care of yourself. Make sure your phone contacts are up to date so you can stay in touch by phone or text message (you will need people to talk and laugh with).
- SUPPORTING EACH OTHER – Caregiving is an isolating experience. Check in often on your family, friends and neighbors who are caring for a loved one. They may need help running routine errands, like the grocery store or pharmacy. Or they may just need someone to talk to someone.