Everyone is aware that people over the age of sixty are more vulnerable to the coronavirus, especially those with preexisting medical conditions. If you are caring for an older loved one, you need to know not only how to keep them safe from COVID-19 but also how to prevent them from feeling isolated.
Keep Yourself and Your Loved One Safe From COVID-19
As a caregiver, you need to take every precaution to avoid your loved one and yourself becoming infected. Here are the basics:
- Frequent handwashing with soap and water. Do a thorough job for a minimum of twenty seconds both before and after contact with your loved one, preparing food, going to the bathroom, or touching surfaces when out in public.
- Keep out of crowds, and practice social distancing as much as possible.
- If you need to cough or sneeze, use a disposable tissue or the bend in your elbow.
- Wear a mask and keep your hands away from your face.
- Pay attention to frequently touched surfaces in your home, including medical and mobility equipment, e.g., handrails, walkers, and canes. Use an appropriate disinfectant.
- If an older adult appears to be in good health, postpone annual checkups, elective procedures, and other non-essential medical visits. If you do need to talk to a medical provider, find out if telemedicine is available.
- Don’t engage in non-essential travel.
Physical Distancing Does Not Have to Mean Social Isolation
Limiting in-person visits to keep them safe from COVID-19 is tough on older adults who cherish interacting with family and friends. And, social isolation can have negative impacts on an older person’s immune system and mental health. Encourage friends and family who do not live near to telephone, write notes, or send cards to help your loved one feel connected. Plus, teach your loved one how to connect online so that they can still see and have chats with others.
- Many houses of worship are closed, and older congregants especially will be feeling cut off. Help your loved one access online faith communities and services for spiritual comfort and support.
Encourage Your Loved One to Keep Busy
Give your homebound loved one a project they can work on. One idea is to sort through and organize old photos and memorabilia. Or, put together a cookbook of favorite family recipes.
Have a Plan in Place
Involve your family members in discussions of how to keep your elderly loved one safe from COVID-19 and what to do if they become sick. Talking things through as a family reduces stress and helps everyone feel prepared and more involved. If you are the primary caregiver, find someone reliable nearby who is willing to take care of your elderly loved one if you become ill. In case of an emergency, stock up with a two to three months’ supply of medications, and two to three weeks’ worth of food, pet supplies, etc. Also, search out delivery services in your area.
If You Notice Symptoms of COVID-19
If you, your elderly loved one, or anyone else in your family develop symptoms – coughing, fever, shortness of breath – call your family doctor, health helpline, or urgent medical care facility.
If You Need In-Home Help in Columbia, South Carolina
Caring Healthcare provides high-quality in-home care for seniors. As a caregiver, you don’t have to do it all yourself. We can help keep your loved one safe from COVID-19. Give us a call to see how we can make caring for your loved one easier.