Caregiving can be a challenge as it is, especially for those who are new to the role. WIth the COVID-19 pandemic, it doesn’t get any easier.
Circumstances and responsibilities can change at any moment.
To help you navigate this, we’ve outlined ways to overcome the challenges of caregiving in a pandemic.
Create a Plan for Caregiving in a Pandemic
There are so many uncertainties and fears that come with navigating caregiving during a pandemic. It can seem as if no one has the right answers to your questions. What if you focus on what you can control?
Determine your standards for protecting the person you care for, as well as yourself, from the coronavirus. You can establish rules to stick to that remind you you’re doing everything you can to avoid catching or spreading the virus. This could range from simple rules about whether shoes are allowed in the house, to more serious plans, such as who will step in for you if you catch the virus.
For the more uncertain things, you can eliminate worries by establishing what resources you have to help you and the person you care for, as well as contacts you can reach if something unexpected arises.
A plan helps you trust that you have the thought processes and resources in place to adapt to changes as they come, keeping your confidence intact even in these uncertain times.
Don’t Fear Responsibilities
Although you’re having to limit activities to stay safe, it doesn’t mean you should stop managing attending to important responsibilities. If the person you care for needs regular doctors appointments, visits from a healthcare provider, an unexpected hospital visit, or even just wants some fresh air, there are safe ways to do these things.
Take precautions, call ahead, and learn how to safely enter places you haven’t been to yet during the pandemic. Ask for advice and resources from healthcare providers on safe alternatives and options.
Find Alternatives that Simplify Tasks
Although you may not be able to change certain responsibilities, there are some daily tasks that you may be able to find alternatives for and simplify. Consider having a grocery service deliver food, or helping the person you care for visit loved ones and even doctors virtually, for example.
Balance the News with Being Present
With so much important information changing daily, it’s difficult to resist reading or watching the news constantly. As a caregiver, you may feel as if you’re fully responsible for someone else’s safety, and cannot afford to be out of the loop.
It’s helpful to stay in the know but it can also cause you to obsess over the negatives and factors you can’t control. Choose a deliberate time to check your trusted news sources, or even check in with loved ones and friends to see what’s new. Discuss relevant updates with the person you care for if they’re interested.
Then set boundaries so that this doesn’t become all that you think about or talk about. Instead, limit the screen time and focus on living in the moment.
Find Meaningful Ways to Spend Your Time Together
Give the person you care for a sense of purpose by making time for meaningful shared experiences together. This is especially important as our social circles have become more limited. Start a project together, such as sorting through old photos. Ask them to teach you all of their favorite recipes or their favorite card game.
Find ways to entertain the person you care for, such as virtual tours of cities and museums, or even visits with pets. At The Kensington Redondo Beach, out residents have enjoyed virtual visits from our Service Dog Merideth from the Redondo Beach Police Department. We’ve also started writing letters to penpals, for example.
Take Care of Yourself
You may feel the weight of the world on your shoulders as you care for others during this pandemic. However, it’s important to pause and take care of yourself.
Watch for signs of caregiver burnout and prevent compassion fatigue by taking care of your basic needs — getting enough sleep, enough hydration, proper nutrition, and exercise. Take time for yourself to destress, visit with friends and loved ones, and even enjoy some hobbies.
It’s important to take care of yourself so you can continue to approach your caregiving responsibilities with strength. Those you care for feed off of your energy, so it helps both of you if you have a positive spirit and can come from a healthy place, where it’s easier to celebrate the simple things.
How The Kensington Provides Care During the Pandemic
Even though our residents’ family members can’t be with their loved ones as often as they would like, we do all we can to care for them as if they’re our own family. We work to connect with each person, creating moments that bring joy and fulfillment.
Beyond well-spaced, small group in-person activities, many of our activities have become virtual, such as cocktail hour, exercise classes, and outings.
In Memory Care, some of our favorite COVID-safe activities are Courtyard Paws Walks with Penny, patio gardening, karaoke with staff, Trivia questions, and virtual scenic drives to Malibu, Glacier National Parks, and Tour de France.
We have frequent and safe virtual visits from loved ones through Facetime, Skype, Zoom, Google Duo, and Slack, as well as socially distanced courtyard visits.
With sunny, warm weather in Redondo Beach, we open the sliding doors of the café. Our outdoor dining area, with umbrellas and full dining service, offers residents the benefit of enjoying meals outside. Our residents enjoy fresh air, sunshine, and relaxation while visiting, socially distanced, with their friends.
If you’re considering a transition to senior living for the person you care for, call us today to learn how we can help.
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