Even with the most comprehensive Emergency PrepCaredness checklist, no one could have fully prepared for the intensity of the global pandemic this year. Now we are in the midst of COVID-19, forging on and continuing to provide care to our loved ones, with no clear end in sight.
Elderly or immunocompromised loved ones for whom caregivers are responsible are the most at-risk demographic for the novel coronavirus. The stress of this time is palpable across the globe, and as a caregiver, life has become more challenging when misinformation and contradictory reports dominate the news and social media feeds.
The rate of new COVID-19 cases is still growing, despite months of lockdown and precautionary measures. Now, more than ever, is the time to be vigilant in protecting ourselves and our care receivers, especially as restrictions loosen and many people are beginning to go about their daily lives again.
Here at the Caregiver Resource Center OC, we want to ensure you have access to all the most up-to-date information you need in order to stay safe and healthy, while continuing to care for your loved one (and yourself) in this challenging time. Case numbers in the US continue to rise, so to keep yourself and your loved one safe, please take good care to follow CDC guidelines and stay healthy!
Follow the In-Home Care Guide
For in-home caregivers, Care Academy has provided the following COVID-19 Caretaker resource that is filled with wonderful information on how to be a caregiver in pandemic times.
Protect Yourself on Outings
As a caregiver, you are often responsible to leave the home to purchase supplies. Whenever possible, to avoid risk of transmission, we recommend ordering online and taking delivery at home. However, if you do go out, please follow CDC guidelines, wear a mask and use hand sanitizer after touching any surfaces.
Grocery shopping is an essential task, so follow these precautions to take when shopping in-store or online.
Prepare for Hospitalizations or Medical Appointments
As the quarantine time extends, medical visits may become necessary. You will want to take extra precautions as a caregiver around hospital and doctor visits, to ensure your loved one stays safe and healthy:
Reschedule any non-essential hospital visits to telehealth appointments. Avoid outings to medical centers unless it is an emergency or is recommended by a medical professional. To be safe, call your doctor before bringing your loved one into the community!
Face coverings are recommended for all outings, however, please use caution with masks or face coverings on anyone who may have trouble breathing.
Prepare a hospital “Go Bag” should your loved one require hospitalization where you may be restricted from visiting. Prepare for Your Care has checklists here. In the Go Bag you’ll want to include:
Papers & Information
phone numbers for the medical decision maker
list of medications
advance directive (LINK TO: CRC Advance Directive Blog)
plan for pets or bills while hospitalized
phone/tablet and chargers
ear plugs, sleep mask, toothbrush
Clothes, slippers, other comfort items
books from home
Any water, food & medication that might be needed in the cast of a long wait.
Follow CDC Guidelines & Stay Up to Date with Current COVID Status
The basic CDC recommendations, which continue to be relevant, are to: stay informed and in touch, prepare for possible illness and continue to take everyday preventive actions: wash your hands, practice social distancing, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in your home. Stay up to date with the CDC and state and county information at the following links:
Caregiver Self Care
Most importantly - as a caregiver, you must maintain your own self care while you are caring for your loved one. As caregivers, we cannot pour from an empty cup, especially when times are tough for everyone. Take yourself outside for a socially distant walk, call friends or family outside the home to check in and connect, and be sure to stay safe and healthy (physically and mentally) so that you may show up as your best self to your loved one! Check out this resource from the Family Caregiver Alliance for Self-Care.
Should you have any questions, concerns or just need some advice in these trying times, the Caregiver Resource Center OC is available to you. Please reach out with any questions and don’t forget to wash your hands!