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Nearly 42 million Americans are caregivers to a person with a disability. And since COVID-19, it seems like a million more have joined the ranks.
With COVID there are added complications, notably physical separation. Some people are supporting older relatives who live far away while others may be close by buy maintaining a safe distance. The goal is to maintain social closeness while also practicing physical distance.
Caregivers are resilient, committed people and will go to any lengths to provide care to those they work for. Now more than ever, communication and collaboration are key to providing the highest level of care. Here are five tips to help someone stay connected while social distancing:
Establish a Care Circle – Identify people who can help if needed. It may be a combination of professionals, family members, neighbors, and/or friends. Collect names, phone numbers, and email addresses of everyone in the Care Circle. Include in the list things that may be needed in case of emergency: medications, pre-existing conditions, home access details).
Stay Connected – Establish regular check-ins. With new physical distancing guidelines, social connection is more important than ever. Make a schedule of remote check-ins within that Care Circle. Consider leveraging technology
like zoom or FaceTime.
Maintain Medical Care & Support: Telehealth is making it possible to maintain regular doctor appointments and stay safe. In fact, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid recently expanded coverage and loosened policies and regulations regarding telehealth. Pharmacies have mail-order options and are expanding support to manage medications.
Cover the Essentials: Assess the food, household, and personal supplies you have at home and what you need to keep in stock. Many grocery stores now offer contactless delivery or pick-up. A quick on-line search should reveal the best option. Additionally, check out Area Agency on Aging and Meals on Wheels.
Well-Rounded Health: While it may take some creativity during COVID, everyone needs stimulation physically, cognitively, and emotionally to maintain their well-being (including the caregiver!) Find ways to keep everyone active; use technology, puzzles, letter writing, exercises and more,