Caring for an elderly loved one requires hard work, dedication as well as the ability to adapt to new and ever-changing circumstances both internal as well as external. Being a caregiver is a demanding role during the best of circumstances, however, the Coronavirus has presented even more unique challenges. There are new ‘best practices’, health and safety guidelines, and procedures to consider when keeping your elderly loved one safe.
First and foremost, to protect your vulnerable senior, you must first protect yourself. Ensure that you follow the appropriate procedures to keep yourself as healthy as possible. If you get sick, then you become an unwitting carrier of the disease into your home.
- Wear your mask when out of your home
- Sanitize when out in public – especially each time you have touched a new surface
- Wash your hands often at home – specifically before and after prepping food or care items
- Keep your hands away from your face
- Clean often – focus on frequently touched surfaces in your home, food prep areas, eating areas, and medical equipment
- Avoid unnecessary trips out into the public
- Be mindful of crowded spaces
Social Connection During Isolation
Physical distancing is a proven method to decrease the risk of exposure, however social isolation and loneliness can negatively impact your elderly loved one’s mental health. Therefore, consider scheduling routine social events that are safe to participate in. Calling out to a support system, like family and friends, and creating a weekly phone call or video conferencing schedule can create a routine that your senior loved one can look forward to. A community-oriented approach while maintaining safety standards will boost morale and mental wellness.
Keeping your elderly loved one’s mind sharp and fresh requires consistent and varied stimulation and work. By co-creating a home project with them you foster confidence and self-esteem. The project could entail: scrapbooking, organizing shelves, painting, or a DIY to improve your space.
Seniors often have more doctor visits and health concerns than the average person. However, during the quarantine, it is important to avoid unnecessary trips to clinics and hospitals. Thus, you should try and minimize unnecessary trips during this time and call your doctor to discuss possible teleconferencing. By teleconferencing or video conferencing, you minimize the risk of exposure while maintaining your elderly loved one’s standard of care.
If you or your elderly loved one has symptoms of COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone with the virus, call your family doctor and follow their plan of care.