Taking care of an aging-in-place loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic can be stressful even on the best of days. To keep both of you safe, special caregiving precautions must be taken. Because the coronavirus is spread primarily by person-to-person contact through respiratory droplets, that’s a great place to start. If you’d like to learn more about protecting yourself while caregiving during the COVID-19 pandemic, here are some tips.
COVID-19 Places Seniors and Caregivers at Risk
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) those aged 65+ are at higher risk for dying from COVID-19, especially seniors with underlying medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease and lung disease. For reasons like malnutrition, inactivity and smoking, the natural immunity of many older adults isn’t what it used to be.
Healthcare professionals have also found that symptoms for COVID-19 are sometimes different in elderly patients versus younger individuals. That can make diagnosing older adults more challenging once they’ve been exposed to the virus. As an informal caregiver, you may be exposed to COVID-19 without even knowing it- ultimately placing you and your household at risk.
COVID-19 Self-Care Tips for Informal Caregivers
Like it or not, COVID-19 is going to be around for a while. If most of the caregiving duties are falling on you, using these self-care tips will help ensure that you and your loved one both enjoy a higher quality of life:
Wear a mask
One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from airborne organisms like coronavirus is by wearing a mask. In addition to wearing a protective covering over your nose and mouth, be sure to wash your hands throughout the day for at least 20 seconds with a good antimicrobial soap. In between hand washings use hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of 70% or more.
Make lifestyle changes
Smoking cigarettes, inactivity and eating too many fast foods can all weaken your body’s natural defenses against pathogens. Keep your immune system strong by exercising regularly, avoiding tobacco products and eating a nutrient-rich diet.
Clean and disinfect
While in the home, frequently clean and disinfect exposed surfaces like sinks, faucets, furniture, countertops, doorknobs and electronic devices.
Cook food thoroughly
When preparing foods in the home, be sure to cook them thoroughly to kill harmful organisms. Wash your hands before and after handling raw meat or fish, and wipe down the cutting board and countertops with a good disinfectant immediately afterwards. Never prepare food, eat, or touch your eyes, nose or mouth unless you’ve washed your hands first. Be sure to remind your loved one to do the same.
Avoid public places
Many seniors stay active by frequenting public places like churches, coffee shops, gyms, malls, community centers and stores. For the sake of you and your loved one, avoid those public places, or, at the very least, practice social distancing until life returns to normal.
Another proven way to ward off illnesses is by getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day. But getting plenty of rest also means taking a well-deserved break whenever you start to feel caregiver fatigue setting in.
Find someone reliable to fill in for several days or weeks, like another family member, neighbor or friend. If no one is available, another option you have is hiring a professional in-home respite caregiver from a licensed home care agency.
Reliable In-Home Senior Care in a Post-COVID World
Whether we want to admit it or not, COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon. When you need assistance caring for an aging-in-place loved one, Dependable Senior Care is here to help. While in the home our highly qualified professionals follow the latest COVID-19 safety protocols so that you and your loved one can sleep better at night. Owned and operated by healthcare professionals with 80+ years of combined experience, DSC’s reliable in-home care solutions are available 7 days a week. We have options ranging from a few hours per day to 24-hour and live-in care.
Our well trained and carefully screened caregivers can provide daily living assistance services for personal care, respite care, nursing care, companionship care, Alzheimer’s and dementia care. With offices in Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, Dependable Senior Care is your family trusted provider for senior in-home care in South Florida. To learn more now, or to schedule an initial consultation, please visit www.dependableseniorcare.com!