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What Family Caregivers Should Do if They Contract COVID-19

Caregiving for an older loved one can be a difficult, stressful task, and COVID-19 has made it even more challenging. Older adults, age 60 and above, as well as those with diabetes, respiratory disease and heart disease, are at high risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19. 
 
Understandably, you want to keep your senior as safe as possible. So what should you do if you contract COVID-19? How can you keep your older loved one safe and healthy while battling the virus yourself?
 
Here’s what you should do as a caregiver if you contract COVID-19. 
 

If You Begin to Feel Ill

You must take any illness seriously right now. COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, which means it can start off feeling like a cold or flu. Even if you have mild symptoms, you should be cautious. 
 
Call your doctor and explain your symptoms. Your doctor will provide you with your next steps, such as testing. Be sure to mention that you are a caregiver for an older adult, as that may influence the testing decision. The only time you should go to the hospital before calling is if you have severe symptoms like extreme shortness of breath, persistent chest pain, confusion, blue lips/face or vomiting. 
 
Whether or not you can get a test, you should quarantine. Yes, this means you won’t be able to provide care to another while sick. You’ll need to stay in your own room and disinfect frequently. Wear a mask anytime you must interact with someone and anytime you leave your room. 
 
Find a caregiver. While you’re sick, someone else will need to be the caregiver for your older loved one. In a pinch, family or friends may be able to help, but keep in mind that, for the safety of your loved one, you’ll want to limit the number of outside people coming into the home. That’s why ComForCare is the best decision for complete in-home care. We will take the best possible care of your older adult while you get healthy. 
 

Create a Plan 

Don’t wait until you get sick to make a plan of action. Added stress will not help you recover or make the best decisions. Here are some things you can do now to prepare:

  • Create a will, and designate a medical power of attorney. Make sure this information is added to your medical record. 
  • Stock up on any medical supplies, OTC medications and household items your older adult needs in case someone else has to take over your caregiving. 
  • Have a plan for your older adult. Don’t wait until the last minute to find a caregiver if you get sick. Determine who could care for your older adult if the situation were to arise. The best choice is a ComForCare professional caregiver who is specially trained in all aspects of in-home care. 

Prevention 

In addition to handwashing, social distancing and wearing a mask, the Canadian government reminds us of the importance of taking care of our mental and physical health during these times. As a caregiver, it’s incredibly important that you take time for YOU and focus on self-care. 
 
Whether you need help for a few hours so you can go take a walk, workout or just have some time to yourself, or you need 24/7 care while sick, ComForCare can help. Find a caregiver near you by clicking this link.

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