From a Caregiver’s Perspective…
These days, it is natural that we are all feeling some extra stress and worry. It is a particularly nervous time with the spread of COVID-19 in the United States because we just don’t know what to expect. There are so many aspects of our work and personal lives that this pandemic could affect, and has already affected, and it is normal to have these worries on our minds.
We are listening to news and advice from trusted sources, but ultimately each day we have decisions to make, big and small. We are all deciding our response…and revising our response as the situation unfolds day by day. Should I cancel that event in the future? Should I go out to the store today? The answer today may be different than tomorrow.
As a caregiver, I work with one of the most at-risk populations, seniors. But also as an in-home caregiver, I primarily work one-on-one with my clients which is, as far as I am aware currently, a low-risk interaction. I hope that I, and all of the caregivers on our team, are able to continue to serve the seniors in our community throughout this troubling time.
That being said, in the home care field we are accustomed to moving quickly and adjusting to new situations, it’s a big part of our job! We have our ears and eyes open for the safety of all members of our Assisting Hands family.
As for me, I hope to be a rock for my clients, and my fellow caregivers when I speak with them, as we all strive to respond as appropriately and severely as needed, while also being conscientious to others, and maintaining composure and also optimism!
Let’s Keep Caring…Safely!
With the current Coronavirus crisis, we must be aware of updating information as we receive it, we must do all we can for our communities, and at the end of the day we must also try to keep on caring! As an in-home caregiver, I know many of my clients are accustomed to staying at home for much of the day, and I’m ready to take a page from their book!
As our social calendars and other activities clear up, let’s use our extra time to look out for one another, and ourselves. Here are some suggestions:
- Stay in contact with your friends and family, virtually if need be. It is a wonderful way to feel connected, and important for you and them.
- Use extra time for yourself; it’s a worthy use of time. Pick up that book that is gathering dust or start that project you’ve been meaning to get to. Remember as well that relaxing is an important part of your health and wellbeing.
- Remember that now is a particularly important time, as ever, to take care of your bodily health. Be sure to nourish your body with the foods you eat, and get adequate rest. Adding some movement into your day is always helpful for your body and mind.
- If you are feeling particularly stressed about the situation, the CDC website recommends taking breaks from news and social media. Hearing repeated or constant information about the Coronavirus may at some point simply be adding to your stress rather than being informative.
Safety Guidelines for Caregivers
Of course, at the end of the day, getting the word out about public safety is extremely important, even as many people may feel bombarded by this information! Referencing the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control websites, I have compiled some guidelines for caregivers’ and seniors’ safety. Please explore these websites for more in-depth information!
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and for at least 20 seconds. If you do not have soap and water available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and rub your hands together until they feel dry.
- Caregivers should wash their hands as soon as they enter a client’s home. They should also always wash their hands before preparing a client’s meal or before touching a client to assist with activities of daily living.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow, or into a tissue which you then throw away.
- Caregivers should strive to remember to always cough or sneeze as far away from clients as possible at this time. The CDC also recommends handwashing, even after coughing into an elbow or tissue.
- Do not touch your face.
- The virus can get into your body through your eyes, nose, and mouth. Avoiding contact with your face and your client’s face as much as possible, even when providing personal care, is important.
- Distance yourself physically (3-6 feet) from your client when possible.
- Social distancing can mean staying home and not being among crowds or gatherings of people. But even keeping distance from people you are in personal contact with is important. In general, the public is advised to cease handshakes and opt for a wave or some other greeting. Sometimes in home care we need to touch our clients to assist them, but for many of our clients we may be helping around the house and providing companionship. At this time, keeping away from close contact with those clients is a helpful precaution.
- If you are sick, do not come to work. Let us know as soon as possible!
- It is believed that COVID-19 is most contagious when individuals have a fever and symptoms. Coughing and shortness of breath are two other symptoms of COVID-19. If you are sick, you may just have a cold or seasonal flu, but please do not take the chance. Stay home unless you are experiencing symptoms that lead you to seek medical care.
- Disinfect surfaces that are touched daily.
- Help yourself and your client maintain a safe and healthy home by using a disinfectant or disinfecting wipes on places like doorknobs, lightswitches, phones, toilets, sinks, and countertops.
Stay in Touch
To everyone in our Assisting Hands extended family, please remember safety first of course, but please also remember that we are a team, and we are not alone! Please feel free to reach out to us and we will continue to be in touch, if virtually, with you as we navigate these new waters.