It’s an understatement to say that these are strange times for all of us. Yet, for those who provide care for elderly loved ones, this current moment can feel immensely more stressful. For those currently navigating caregiving and coronavirus, the following is a simple guideline for caregivers in the midst of COVID-19.
Check In With Employed Caregivers
If you are worried about the safety of your loved one, you can always check in with a nursing agency or other caregiver service that you are using. Ask them specifically what measures they are taking to combat the spread of the virus. Make certain to ask what the cleaning regimen is and how regular sanitations are done. If you have a home health aide, ask them if they have enough PPE and social distancing strategies to ensure the safety of your loved one.
As with all health care discussions, make certain to take notes on the conversation. If something isn’t clear to you, ask a question! These open and honest moments of communication will allow for better foresite on caregiving strategies, and help you navigate moving forward.
Make A Plan for Temporary Lapses in Care
If you are your relative’s sole caregiver, it’s important to plan for the possibility that you may not be able to help in the event of your own sickness. This may not be the most fun discussion; but, as always, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
It’s imperative to explore the options of a back-up plan in the event of you getting sick. Ask your community, friends, and relatives for availability to fill a potential care giving gap. You can also consider employing a home health care agency, who will watch over your loved one while you get better!
Protect Yourself From Burnout
As always, when caregiving for someone else, it’s only natural to suffer some form of caregiver burnout. According to an article by Aging in Place, nearly three quarters of children who care for an elderly relative “found it to be stressful, and more than half [of children] found it to be overwhelming.”
It should be noted that aforementioned data was collected prior to the pandemic occurring. Thus, these feelings of being overwhelmed can only be exacerbated by the current situation. To protect yourself from the mental toll of overwork, it’s important to find time to take care of yourself.
Ask for help when you need it. Create a caregiver network that can take on some of the financial, medical, and personal tasks remotely. You can even consider joining a caregiver support group. Remember, we are not alone in this crisis, and you are not alone in this moment. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and it’s okay to ask for help when you need it!