Fears arise as we think how the Coronavirus could possibly affect our frail loved ones. Statistics show that the mortality rate for those over the age of 80, especially those with health problems, can be as high as 15%. That most likely applies to our loved ones, as we are in the caregiving role.
So, how do we look at this situation? Panic is not the answer. I have gone to several trusted sources for the information I have been looking for during this time; CDC.gov, John Hopkins Global Tracker, Lancet Medical Journal, National Institute of Health, etc. Do not listen to your next-door neighbor unless they happen to be a doctor.
Your loved one’s primary care physician will be the first go-to- person when a problem arises.
Self-quarantine your loved one for the time being. Many facilities are now in lockdown. The assisted living facility my mom is in went into lockdown last night. Only essential medical personnel are allowed into the facility. It is a necessary safeguard.
Family and Caregiver Support
• Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand.
• Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
• Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
• If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak or if they go into lockdown.
• You should wear a mask when caring for your loved one, especially if you have been out in the community. If your loved one is self-quarantined, they do not need to wear a mask. It may also be hard for them to breathe with a mask on.
• Symptoms of the Coronavirus include fever that lasts for days, coughing, sneezing, diarrhea and, shortness of breath.
• The flu has many of the same symptoms but usually not shortness of breath and diarrhea. The flu however will have muscle aches, where Covid-19 will not.
• Call ahead to any medical facility if you are bringing your loved one in, including if you have to call 911.