Covid 19 Caregiving Tips:
The recent crisis of covid 19 has burdened many Americans in various ways. News norms such as social distance rules, mask wearing, at home orders, and even complicated work from home status. However, one group has endured heightened stress levels, that is the family caregiver advocate!
Family caregivers, who advocate and often care for their loved one in their own home, endure high stress levels. Now add the pandemic to all of their caregiving stress we are really seeing families struggling.
Tips for families to help cope with aging parents or loved ones at home.
1. Contact and visit your physician, even during this pandemic.
Most physicians have in place, either facetime, zoom or some way to communicate with your loved one. Schedule a Doctor visit, even in the midst of the pandemic. Many older adults have new anxieties and fears due to the virus, and by proactively scheduling a visit, open communication can occur. Do not ignore important tests such as mammograms, blood work and others proactive tests for your loved one, just because of COVID. Report any changes of your loved one to the physician right away, physicians want to receive updates on their patients.
2. Older adults are at risk for COVID 19 however, older adults with underlying conditions are more at risk.
Reminding our loved ones to wash their hands more often is critical at this time. Posting a sign in their bathroom, and by the kitchen sink is a good reminder. Making sure your loved or their paid caregiver uses the dishwasher is critical too. Washing dishes in the sink may not be a good thing to do at this time. Cleaning surfaces and doorknobs is also a good practice to start.
3. Proper hygiene- Some older adults do not like to bath or shower as often as adults.
During the pandemic it is even more important that your loved one regularly showers, to prevent urinary tract infections or other issues. If you suspect that your loved one has increased odors or their urine output has new odors, please report this to their doctor. Changes in behavior or cognition, leaning, back pain, lack of sleep are all changes associated with urinary tract infections. Please report these symptoms! Having infections can lower one’s immune system and would make them more susceptible to any virus and even send them to the hospital, not where we want them to go at this time.
4. Keep your loved one active.
We realize we cannot go to the movies or even maybe the park, however, try some new fun ideas such as: puzzles, card games, start an art project, plant a small garden, purchase an adapted and safe treadmill, review and reflect on old pictures, try phone calls with old friends, and reach out to clergy.
5. Trust your instincts!
If you feel your loved one is depressed or has recent changes, reach out to a professional or case manager, therapist, physician or even a local non-profit that advocates for older adults.
6. Take time off!
Try to hire a professional caregiver, or ask for help from a friend, family member or neighbor. A break is essential in order for you to continue your loving advocacy!
Jacqueline Lehn DuPont
For further questions, feel free to give us a call for advice at 1-800-925-7159