Creating a Plan: Caregiving for Loved Ones During COVID-19
elderly woman's hands on lap

It’s not easy to be a caregiver – especially through a global pandemic like COVID-19. Currently, millions of older adults need special attention to thrive. What happens when their loved ones can’t enter their homes because of possible issues? It’s necessary to devise a system that protects everyone’s overall health. Here are some ways to do just that.

Learn About Different Symptoms

It’s essential to learn as much information as you can. Every day, experts release new data about COVID-19, which may be hard to digest when you don’t know about the illness itself. Currently, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention details four significant signs that require medical attention:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in chest
  • Inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

If your patient exhibits a fever or cough on top of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. When an older adult has other medical conditions, like lung or heart problems, they could be at a higher risk. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep an eye out for potential signs. Do your best to research new information as it’s released so that you can prepare accordingly.

Use Technology for Assistance

Per specific guidelines, it’s now mandatory to maintain a social distance for the sake of everyone’s safety. Unfortunately, those regulations separate caregivers from their loved ones – but you can find a way to provide adequate assistance.

First and foremost, make sure that your patient has access to necessary medications. Many pharmacies have started to promote free deliveries, so try to take advantage of those services. Almost every Medicare plan offers a mail-order option as well. You may want to pursue that alternative to ensure a contact-free experience for your loved one.

You should also arrange grocery deliveries. You can order online through various supermarkets. Then, a personal shopper will gather the items and arrange a drop-off at your patient’s home. If you want to deliver hot meals, use Grubhub or Uber Eats to order from local restaurants. This way, your loved one won’t need to cook for themselves.

If you handle finances for your patient, look into current deals or programs that offer a little assistance. Most utility and cable companies recognize that bills may be a burden. Also, professional services can use EPA-approved methods to inspect and clean your loved one’s home.

In any case, you can use many no-contact ways to care for your patient while you practice self-isolation.

Practice Preventative Measures

It’s essential to take preventative measures. Though you should maintain a self-quarantined state, you may need to visit your loved one briefly. Right now, it’s challenging to find facemasks and other personal protective equipment. You can obtain appropriate gear through online retailers or donation centers – but they may not ship for a few weeks.

In any case, continue to wash your hands frequently. Don’t touch your face, and remember to sanitize surfaces. If possible, urge your patient to take similar actions. You should also work with them to implement telemedicine visits. A lot of physicians and specialists have moved to platforms like Zoom as a way to continue care. These sessions can keep older adults healthy.

You should also put together a list of emergency contacts. This way, you can designate care responsibilities to another person if you become sick. It’s essential to think about every possible situation so that you can remain prepared.

Continue to Communicate

Try to remember that social distance doesn’t mean social isolation. You should continue to check in with your loved one through phone calls and video chats. If you can, organize a time for your family to join a group conversation. This way, your patient won’t feel lonely. It’s easy to become stressed or anxious due to COVID-19, and many older adults rely on support systems.

Plus, communication can improve your wellbeing. A daily virtual interaction positively impacts your health – and as a result, you’ll be able to provide the best attention possible. If you take care of yourself, it’s a lot more manageable to take care of your loved ones. When creating a backup plan, it’s necessary to think about yourself, too.

Use These Tips to Stay Safe Through COVID-19

As a caregiver, creating a backup plan should be a priority. This way, you and your loved one can navigate COVID-19 as best as you can.

Written by Kayla Matthews
Kayla Matthews writes about medical technologies and news developments for publications like The Week, BioMed Central and Kareo's Go Practice Blog. To read more posts by Kayla, visit her on Twitter @KaylaEMatthews or check out her website:

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