Guidance for Caregivers as Restrictions Loosen around Coronavirus
Many states and communities are loosening up on restrictions, but what is really safe? Here are some tips to help you navigate the "new normal":
Find out what is open in your area.
Keep in mind that parts of a state may be more "open" than others. Individual counties and cities can impose (or loosen) restrictions regarding what is open, how many people can be in a place of business and whether or not face masks are required etc.. So it's best to check on your city or county website or check with a local news station to find out what's going on near you. AARP provides this list of states and their current state of restrictions (it's updated frequently because things change so much).
To find out what services for older adults are resuming, contact the service provider or facility directly or contact your local area agency on aging (to find your local area agency on aging go to the Eldercare Locator at www.eldercare.acl.gov or call 1-800-677-1116).
Be sure to take safety precautions for yourselves and your loved ones.
Make good decisions for you and your loved ones.
While states and local governments issue restrictions, it's still up to us to take care of ourselves. Remember that the virus is still out there and some area numbers are still going up. Just because things start to open up doesn't mean the danger is gone. Also be aware there are a lot of myths about coronavirus floating around so educate yourselves about the truth.
Find safe ways to visit loved ones who are at risk. If your loved ones live at home, in a facility or a senior community, visitors are starting to be allowed in some places, generally on a limited basis. Weigh the risks and plan visits carefully, erring on the side of caution. Many people are making window visits, talking on the phone but still being able to see each other. Using video chat, or take a walk outside observing distancing precautions. Here are more tips about visiting older family members at home.
It's wise to continue to be very careful, especially if you or your loved ones are more vulnerable or at-risk. You can still stay home, use grocery delivery services, wear face masks, use telemedicine for doctor appointments and therapies, continue being careful about touching your face and washing your hands if you do go out etc. Remember that people of all ages can be asymptomatic carriers of the virus too.
Continue to take care of your health, get plenty of sleep, eat healthy foods, exercise, manage stress and find ways to socialize in safe ways.