Caregiving and COVID-19
At SE Health and Elizz, we are here to help caregivers through these extraordinary times of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can get credible and up-to-date information at SE Health. At Elizz, we’ll be here to help and support you through the added stress, worry, and anxiety.
As a daughter or son of an aging parent, you may find yourself worried about your mom and/or dad contracting this virus. There is a greater risk of a more severe outcome for Canadians who are: 65 years of age and older; have a compromised immune system, and who have underlying medical conditions.
At Elizz, we focus on what you can do and what you can control. While there is a greater risk, there are also actions you and your mom and/or dad can take to help prevent infection and the spread of this latest coronavirus. In addition, it is wise to be prepared for a potential emergency. At Elizz, we always encourage caregivers to be proactive, to plan, to be prepared. We cannot emphasize that enough at this time.
The Public Health Agency of Canada advises all Canadians to be prepared in the event of an emergency. This is especially good advice for caregivers. How can you be prepared? You can do this by: making a plan, filling prescriptions and stocking up on essentials. We know that family caregivers are already involved with picking up groceries, supplies and medications for mom and/or dad. As we move through this pandemic, more planning may be required.
- Make a plan.
Think about how you can reduce your exposure and your parents’ exposure to crowded places. For example, you may want to do shopping at off-peak hours. Avoid public transit if this is at all possible.
As you are likely aware, we have all been advised to practice social distancing. You can watch this CBC News video on social distancing:
Include in your plan what you will do if you become sick. Who will check in or take care of your mom and/or dad if you are unable to? Create a back-up plan.
- Refill prescriptions.
Suggest to your parents that they contact their healthcare provider to ask about medication refills in case they need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
Consider online pharmacy or medication delivery services, like Well.ca.
- Stock up on essentials.
It makes most sense to stock non-perishable items. This can prevent a need to leave the home if you become sick or if you are caring for a family member who is sick. Stocking up isn’t necessarily just for those who are in isolation. It is also best to be prepared in case there is an outbreak in your community. Once again, consider shopping online and using grocery delivery services.
Connecting with mom and dad
If your mom or dad is in the hospital, retirement home or long-term care home (nursing home), be sure to ask about protocol. It’s important to follow it & continue to monitor the situation. Many of these institutions are taking more stringent precautionary measures, including restricted visiting. While we know it isn’t ideal, don’t underestimate the power of connecting by phone or video chat.
Another way to keep connected with your mom and/or dad is to have your kids (who certainly have time on their hands!) create artwork or write cards and letters and send them off via so-called snail mail. Technology aside, it’s a loving act and it’s still pretty cool to receive physical mail.
One creative son in the United Kingdom chatted to his dad through the long-term care window of his room, and the poignant picture has gone viral.
Finally, it wouldn’t be Elizz if we didn’t also remind you to take care of yourself. Self care is especially important during trying times.
What are you doing to stay connected and to help your mom and/or dad during this COVID-19 pandemic? We would love to hear from you.
3 thoughts on “Caregiving and COVID-19”
All your references are to people with elderly parents. My children work or have children to care for. I am 77 and the caregiver 24/7 of my 84 year old husband with severe dementia. What suggestions do you have for me?
I am one of the vulnerable elderly who is used to being alone. I meet friends by going for a walk with them. My garden looks better than it has in years. Luckily I like to garden. Please take care to follow recommendations. We are all vulnerable.
Snail mail is not being delivered. I work in a retirement residence and we have had no mail for a week.