As our nation copes with the new social norms created by the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have seen images in the news of family members visiting their elderly loved one through their windows. But what if you’re also on the inside of that window: What if you’re the caregiver? That’s a very real possibility: a study published by the National Alliance for Caregiving reports there are 65.7 million people in the United States caring for a family member, friend or neighbor who is ill, disabled or aged.
In many ways, people who are caring for someone in their own home are at an advantage when it comes to the risk of exposure to COVID-19. It is easier to control the spread when abiding by social distancing recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control. You know who, if anyone, comes into your house and can control your exposure potential. But the stress of being a caregiver is multiplied by the isolation that comes with this unprecedented time.
Here are a few recommendations that might help you and your loved one feel a better sense of control during this pandemic:
These are scary times for all of us, but especially for those with advanced or complex illnesses. Take advantage of all the support and resources available to you. Being prepared can help you rest easier as we all learn to become more comfortable with the reality of illness and end-of-life during this pandemic.
Eric Bush, M.D., RPh, MBA, is the chief medical officer for Chesapeake Supportive Care and Hospice of the Chesapeake.