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Tips for Avoiding Caregiver Burnout During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Monday , June 22 , 2020

Tips for Avoiding Caregiver Burnout During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Being a family caregiver is stressful and demanding at any time. But now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, caregivers are navigating uncharted waters.

The already difficult role has taken on new dimensions, as they must consider things like strict hygiene measures and social isolation.

Now, more than ever, caregiver burnout is a real possibility.

If you find that your own health and well-being are impacted by being a caregiver during this difficult time, keep reading.

We’ll give some tips on caring for your loved ones during the pandemic – and some tips for caring for you, too.

Caring for an Older Loved One During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Caregiving is always a challenging role, but during the coronavirus outbreak, there is even more to consider. First and foremost: The health and wellbeing of you and your loved one. During this time, it is essential to take extra measures to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Here are a few tips from Sunrise Senior Living: 

  1. Wash hands frequently: One of the best ways to prevent sickness is to wash your hands in hot, soapy water throughout the day. This guidefrom the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines a 5-step process for proper handwashing.

  1. Use hand sanitizer: While hot water and soap will always be the best option, hand sanitizer can help when you are out in public and don’t have access to a restroom. Choose one that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

  1. Don’t touch your face: Most people don’t realize how many times an hour they touch their face until they try not to do so. A quick rub of the eye or a scratch on the nose happens more often than you think. If you’ve been exposed to a virus and have it on your hands, touching your face can easily transfer the bug.

  1. Take good care: A healthy diet combined with exercise and a good night’s sleep help keep your immune system strong. That’s vital for fighting off viruses of all kinds.

  1. Limit public activity: Social distancing is another important step in protecting a senior family member from COVID-19 and other viruses. To the extent that you can, avoid going out in public while viruses are spreading. Utilize services like home delivered meals, drive-through pharmacies, and online shopping wherever possible.

  1. Screen all visitors:Be vigilant about limiting who can visit your home or the home of your loved one during this time. People who are out in public may be carrying the virus and not showing any symptoms. By allowing others into your home, you are placing yourself and your loved one at risk.

  1. Explore virtual physician visits: If a senior has a routine medical appointment scheduled, call the physician’s office. Many doctors are moving to virtual visitsuntil the pandemic is under control.

Taking Care of Yourself

Burnout is always a risk for someone in a caregiving role, but these days, it’s more likely to occur than ever before.

Duties related to COVID-19, like those listed above, add a lot onto the caregiver’s already-full plate. On top of any regular daily activities, it can be a lot to handle.

How do you know if you’re experiencing burnout? According to the Cleveland Clinic, caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. People experiencing burnout may feel cynical, impatient, fatigued, or disillusioned.

And unfortunately, it’s not just the caregiver that suffers. Those experiencing burnout may have a difficult time engaging with others and, as a result, unintentionally neglect their duties.

There are a lot of things you can do to help prevent burnout from occurring, from meditation to regular exercise, but taking a break is hands-down one of the best things you can do.

That’s where respite care comes in.

What is Respite Care?

ComForCare and other similar companies offer a service called respite care. Respite care, in a nutshell, is a way for family caregivers to have a little time to themselves.

Respite care is offered in a variety of ways: You can take a break for a few hours, a few days, or even a few weeks. By taking a break, you will become less stressed, better rested, and better able to perform your caregiving duties. 

It’s important to preserve your own well-being in order to be at your best when caring for your loved one. Reach out today to find out how ComForCare can help: (908) 927-0500.

Posted in: Caregivers

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Caring for the Caregiver in the Age of COVID-19

Monday , May 4 , 2020

Caring for the Caregiver in the Age of COVID-19

Self-care is always essential for caregivers, but even more so during periods of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the ongoing illness ravaging the country, family members and close friends continue to provide daily care to those in need. And while the everyday demands of caring for a loved one is already a fulltime job, it’s even more challenging when trying to cope with an infectious disease.

During this difficult time, caregivers should develop habits and strategies to maintain their own health and well-being. This helps avoid the risk of caregiver burnout as well as reducing the likelihood of transmission.

Here are some tips for conscientious caregiving in the age of COVID-19.

Reduce the Likelihood of Transmission

As a caregiver, your number one concern is likely for the health and safety of your loved one. To help keep both of you well, follow CDC guidelines for personal hygiene:

To help stop the spread of germs:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Throw used tissues in the trash
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands
  • Wash hands frequently, especially
    • Before, during, and after preparing food
    • Before eating food
    • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
    • Before and after treating a cut or wound
    • After using the toilet
    • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
    • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • After touching garbage

Stay informed

Keep up to date with the latest COVID-19-related news in your area – but don’t obsess over it. Constantly checking your social media feed or the local news can be mentally draining and increase stress. Choose a time each day to catch up on relevant information and don’t look at it otherwise.

Make time for self-care

Your loved one’s well-being relies on your ability to take care of yourself and stay well. To keep yourself healthy and fit:

  • Eat balanced meals on a regular schedule
  • Maintain a regular sleep routine
  • Fit in exercise whenever possible
  • Find opportunities to relax
    • Take a walk around the block
    • Go for a drive
    • Try gardening
    • Take small breaks and read
    • Check out a new recipe
  • Try meditation
    • Many apps, like Headspace, can help with relaxation and sleep

Stay connected

Physical distancing doesn’t have to mean social distancing. It IS possible – and recommended – to maintain your social connections despite not being able to see each other in person.

  • Reach out to friends and family for regular chats and wellness checks
  • Consider spending time together virtually – watch a movie together or play an online board game
  • If you live with loved ones, figure out ways you can have fun together, rather than just falling prey to the doldrums of isolation

Watch for signs of burnout

Caregiver burnout can happen in any situation, but it’s far more likely during periods of high stress. Keep an eye out for symptoms such as:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Overwhelming anxiety or depression
  • Difficulty completing everyday tasks

Final thoughts

Though it may be difficult right now, make time for yourself whenever possible. Caregiving can be mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting – and if you are not well, you can’t care for another.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and reach out if you feel like you need some outside support.

Posted in: Caregivers

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Beware COVID-19 Scammers

Monday , April 27 , 2020

Beware COVID-19 Scammers

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that Americans have lost nearly $13.5 million in COVID-19-related scams since the beginning of the year.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Scammers are experts at shifting tactics and changing messages to catch people off guard – and if there’s one thing they love, it’s a crisis.

During times of hardship, like the current pandemic, people feel anxious and stressed. They want a quick fix or an easy way out. And that’s exactly what scammers offer.

Until the COVID-19 infections come to an end, the scams won’t stop.

Here’s a quick look at some known virus-related scams and what you can do to protect yourself.

Medicare Scams

According to the FTC, scammers have been calling people offering things like a “COVID-19 kit,” Coronavirus package,” or Medicare benefits related to the virus. When you express interest, the scammers will ask you to verify personal information like your Medicare ID, Social Security number, or bank account information. If you get a call from someone that says they are from Medicare, hang up. A real Medicare representative would never call and ask you to verify personal information over the phone.

Stimulus Check Scams

Many Americans received a stimulus payment via direct deposit in recent weeks, and many others are still waiting for their physical check to arrive in the mail. The FTC is reporting an upswing in fraudulent calls, texts, and emails purporting to come from the Social Security Administration, IRS, USCIS, or FDIC. These fake government calls may promise you fast access to your stimulus money or cash relief if you give them bank account information.  Don’t fall for it!

COVID-19 Treatment Scams

We all want this pandemic to be over quickly and we’d all like a viable treatment to be available. Some scammers have created fake websites offering hard-to-find items such as hand sanitizer and face masks in the hopes that you will “buy” them. Some are also claiming to have access to experimental treatments or vaccines, but no such thing has been approved by the FDA for home use. Avoid making purchases from unfamiliar websites or, at a minimum, do some research before you shop.

Debt Reduction Scams

Scammers know that many people are struggling financially, and they hope to capitalize on their desire to be rid of debt. Bottom line: If someone calls and offers you a debt reduction technique that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Many banks, credit card companies, and other financial services are offering hardship assistance to customers who have been affected by COVID-19. These are the safer bet.

Charity Scams

Scammer may be reaching out claiming to work for charitable organizations that help people affected by COVID-19. If you’d like to donate to help those in need at this time, make sure it’s a legitimate charity with a name you recognize. If you can’t find the company listed in the IRS Tax-Exempt Organization Search Tool, that’s a big red flag.

How to Avoid COVID-19 Scams

If you want to keep yourself safe from COVID-19-related scams, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Beware of anyone who asks for personal information like Social Security or bank account numbers
  • Check any email address or links for legitimacy. You can inspect a link by hovering your curser over the URL to see where it leads
  • Watch for spelling and grammar mistakes or odd phrasing in written communications like emails and letters
  • Listen for generic greetings – scammers are less likely to use your actual name and may address you as “Sir” or “Madam”
  • Avoid any person or organization that insists that you “act now”

Sources of Information

Government offices and health care agencies are often the best sources of information regarding COVID-19. If you have questions about coronavirus, here are a few of the best places to find answers:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization

National Institutes of Health

Posted in: Health

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