Responding to COVID-19 as a Caregiver
News about the coronavirus (COVID-19) fills every airway. There is information about social distancing, tips for staying healthy and guidelines if you think you are ill. But there has been little, if any discussion about how to handle this public health crisis if you are the caregiver for an older adult or someone else in a high-risk category. How can you best manage their physical and emotional needs, and what can you do to take care of yourself?
Preparations as a caregiver:
- Create a household plan based on the needs and routines of your loved one. Discuss the plan with family members, talk with neighbors about emergency planning and create an emergency contact list. Ask your loved one’s physicians to fill prescriptions to cover more days.
- Practice prevention now. Wash hands and clean surfaces frequently. Self-isolate, and only go out when needed. Identify a separate room in your home to be used should someone become sick.
- Develop a contingency plan should your loved one’s day programming be canceled, the home health aide become sick or if you, the primary caregiver, become ill.
- Manage your loved one’s emotional health: Outbreaks can be stressful for older adults. Talk with them about your efforts to keep them safe.
- Find ways to remind loved ones about hygiene: Post written reminders around your home to help them remember.
Preparations to take care of yourself:
- Be informed – but try not to overconsume information on the pandemic.
- Take care of your own emotional health: It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, and worry. Self-care will enable you to think clearly now and recover more quickly afterwards. Take time to unwind, and find ways to enjoy simple pleasures.
- Take care of your body: Use this time to eat healthy meals, exercise, and catch up on sleep.
Learn more about the Benjamin Rose response to COVID-19 and explore our fact sheets about the virus and how we can contribute to prevention efforts