This week our world has been turned upside down as we battle against the Coronavirus Pandemic. Fortunately for many, it is a mild flu. But for the elderly and others who are at a higher risk for getting seriously ill, the Coronavirus can be a matter of life or death. Are you caring for your elderly parents or other family members that have a higher risk?
How To Care For Yourself, Elderly Parents and Those At A Higher Risk
Take Care of Yourself
Wash your hands for at least twenty seconds with soap and water. Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are unavailable.
Make sure you are getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated and getting plenty of fresh air and exercise and reduce stress in order to keep your immune system working properly.
Keep The House Clean
Remove shoes and wash hands immediately after entering the home. Evidence from the CDC suggests that the virus can remain viable on all kinds of different surfaces for hours and maybe even days. So cleaning and disinfecting are important in reducing the spread. Especially highly used items like light switches, doorknobs, toilets, faucets, remote controls and phones. Check out the CDC recommendations for Household Cleaning & Disinfecting here.
Keep Your Distance
Because this virus is so highly contagious, it's important to practice social distancing to reduce the spread of infection. Shop online, use a food delivery service and stay away from social gatherings, even with healthy people.
When To Seek Medical Attention
Early symptoms include fever, cough or shortness of breath. More serious symptoms are difficulty breathing, confusion, pain or pressure in the chest or blueness in the lips or face. Call your healthcare provider if you or a family member are experiencing any of these symptoms.
How To Seek Medical Attention
It is important to call your healthcare provider if you or a family member are experiencing any of these symptoms before going to an urgent care facility or emergency room. Many healthcare providers can provide a "virtual visit" instead of coming into the office or hospital, which can greatly reduce the spread of infection. At this time, several states have set up drive-thru testing sites which is safer for patients and healthcare staff performing the tests. Your healthcare provider will be able to offer you the best, safest practice for getting medical care.
Prepare, Don’t Panic!
Easier said than done, I get it! But being prepared will reduce anxiety and stress and give you a better sense of control in this crazy, unfamiliar situation.
Here a few things to help you prepare yourself and others you provide care to.
- Have food and household supplies on hand for at least fourteen days. You may not be able to have fresh fruits and vegetables, but having a stock of pasta, dried or canned beans, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables, other non-perishable items and pantry staples can go a long way.
- Speak to your healthcare provider about obtaining extra necessary medications as well as over-the-counter medications such as fever reducers and electrolyte drinks like Gatorade.
- Pay attention to what’s happening locally, but don’t watch too much news! Choose a local tv channel or a time to visit the CDC website for the daily facts, then move on to something more positive. Stress has a negative impact on the immune system!
- Get information from reliable media sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization
This crisis is a great opportunity to bring out the good in humanity. Take care of yourselves. Take care of each other. Be kind and generous.
For some great information, Check out the AARP Live (March 10, 2020) Q&A Event with leading health experts. It contains a ton of helpful information for you as a caregiver or a high risk individual regardless of age relating to care, preparation and insurance benefits available.