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Family Caregiving During COVID-19

Posted by Daniel J. Eccher, Esq. | Feb 10, 2021

Sadly, coronavirus case counts have skyrocketed recently. The risk of catching the disease can make caregiving more challenging. Health experts advise that older adults and people with serious underlying medical conditions are more likely to suffer severe illness from COVID-19. Here are some ways to remain close while you stay apart for safety.

Preparing for Care 

Consider what can happen if you or the person you care for were to get COVID-19. Your arrangements may include: 

  • A care plan that outlines who will support you or your loved one. It summarizes health conditions, medications, healthcare providers, emergency contacts, and end-of-life care options. Give copies to your providers, family members, or other caregivers. Update it regularly and keep it close by. You may also share it securely online through apps like Dropbox, Google Docs, or CareZone.
  • Keeping a 30-day supply of medications on-hand or requesting delivery or pick up from a pharmacy.
  • Setting up a separate room where sick members of the household may stay.
  • Maintaining at least a two-week supply of food, water, cleaners and disinfectants, toiletries, and medical supplies.
  • Asking the person you care for to stay home unless they need to leave. Advise them to avoid public or private gatherings. Remind them to stay six feet away from others and to cover their nose and mouth with an appropriate mask. (Anyone who has trouble breathing, is incapacitated, or can't remove a face covering shouldn't wear one.) Limit visits to essential people only, such as home healthcare providers.
  • Making a list of local contacts for information and healthcare services in case of an emergency. 

Another crucial part of caregiving is to practice proper hygiene.  

Preventing Illness  

You and your loved ones may take precautions such as:  

  • Regular handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or with a sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Moisturizing dry skin that can become prone to infection.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or using your elbow.
  • Disinfecting frequently touched objects: mailboxes, doorknobs, TV remotes, etc.
  • Avoiding hugs, kisses, or handshakes.
  • Not sharing drinking glasses, utensils, etc.
  • Boosting your immune system: Staying hydrated and eating a healthy diet.
  • Registering for the COVID-19 vaccine. Beware of scams.
  • Remembering COVID-19 symptoms, which can include fever or a cough, a sore throat, and a new loss of taste or smell. If you get sick, follow CDC guidance and arrange for a backup caregiver.  

Depending on any pre-existing health conditions, if possible, it's better to reduce in-person care. You may be able to do some routine tasks remotely. If you're not sure, talk to the person's doctor.    

Staying Close While You're Away  

These are some ways to stay connected while you're away or keeping your distance:  

  • Calling, texting, emailing, or videoconferencing regularly, especially for pill and meal reminders, if necessary. You may also enjoy meals, playing games, or watching TV programs together remotely.
  • Setting up a camera, smart speaker, and/or an emergency or health monitoring system.
  • Arranging for telemedicine visits, if possible. Mobile lab work, X-rays, and other procedures may also be available.
  • Planning for easy food preparation or scheduling or making regular meal deliveries.
  • Paying bills and checking your loved one's financial status online.
  • Arranging for remote worship or religious services.
  • Ordering groceries and other supplies for delivery or pick up.  

To quote the AARP, "We may be apart, but we don't have to be alone." Technology and other methods can keep you and your loved one close while you provide care during the pandemic.  

To plan for the care of yourself or someone else, call us at (207) 377-6966 or contact us online. We would be happy to consult with you in person or by phone or video by appointment.  

About the Author

Daniel J. Eccher, Esq.

Daniel J. Eccher, Esq. is the Managing Shareholder at Levey, Wagley, Putman & Eccher, P.A., in Winthrop, Maine. Dan's favorite problem to solve is helping clients figure out how to afford long-term care while having something left for their family.

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