Taking care of an elderly loved one always comes with lifestyle changes, but the COVID-19 pandemic threw even more significant challenges into the mix. Now there are additional safety issues to think about because older people are so much more at-risk to contract this virus. It makes any kind of traveling a complex issue, but there are a few ways to make it an easier part of your life.
Read on for five considerations for traveling while caregiving during COVI-19. No matter why you have to leave home or how you travel, you can do it safely and return to your responsibilities without risking anyone’s health.
1. Protect Yourself Everywhere
The most important thing to remember when you have to leave home is to protect yourself everywhere. No matter where you step out of the car, always wash your hands and wear your mask. Wearing a mask reduces the spread of COVID-19 by 85%, especially when it’s a medical-grade mask. If you do everything in your power to protect yourself, you’re less likely to bring the virus home to your loved ones.
2. Keep Your Distance
Some people may think they have to compromise their social distancing when they’re away from home, but it just takes a little extra thought to keep your distance. Instead of sitting in a restaurant when you can’t cook for yourself, use the drive-through while wearing a mask and rub your hands with hand sanitizer after exchanging your payment method.
You can also stay in your hotel room instead of using the shared-space amenities like the gym or pool. While you watch movies or scroll through social media, watch for signs of loneliness that could turn into depression. You could experience things like:
- Mental fog
- Memory loss
Although you have to socially distance, you don’t have to feel alone. Call a friend, schedule a video chat or participate in a virtual party to stay connected while preventing the spread of COVID-19.
3. Make a Safety Plan
You may have to travel with your elderly loved ones if there’s a major family event or another pressing issue. If this is the case, make a safety plan so there’s never unforeseen risks. Think about how to incorporate your regular care schedule into the travel and minimize exposure to other people, like taking a private road trip.
Travelers can also prepare with high-quality gear, such as stocking up on masks, hand sanitizer and personal protective equipment (PPE) before you leave home. When you know what will happen on an hourly or daily basis, you’ll maintain your responsibilities and everyone’s safety.
4. Research Your Destinations
Travel destination concerns used to only revolve around ideas of comfort and entertainment, but now they have to prioritize safety above all else. When you know where you’ll travel to, research destinations like the hotel you’ll stay at and any stores you’ll visit to get necessities. If they all enforce masks mandates, social distancing and hand sanitizer use, it won’t be difficult to avoid catching or carrying COVID-19 home with you.
Moving companies also play an important role in pandemic travel. Call the team you’ll work with and get the specifics about how they operate to compensate the risks of COVID-19. Every team member should follow strict health and safety measures, wear masks in your home and bring their own PPE to handle your belongings. Every extra effort will protect your at-risk loved ones.
5. Maintain Safety Protocols
Maintaining safety protocols should always be your highest priority. Even if you’re only commuting and need to stop for gas, keep your mask on at the pump and use hand sanitizer after you get in the car. If the people around you choose not to do the same, that’s even more reason to think of your loved ones and continue with your safety efforts.
Plan Ahead Early
Whenever possible, plan your travel far ahead of when you need to leave. These considerations for traveling while caregiving will prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce any accidental exposure.