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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.