How the Pandemic Has Impacted Caregivers - PIH Health

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Published on July 08, 2020

How the Pandemic Has Impacted Caregivers

Photo of a caregiver and senior patient

Photo of a caregiver and senior patientFour months into the pandemic, and things throughout the world are very different. In the matter of days everyone’s lives changed. This is also true for caregivers.

There are millions of people in the country who take care of those with chronic health conditions or disabilities. These caregivers are often informal or unpaid caregivers (frequently family and friends) or formal caregivers paid for their roles. 

As we all know, those with underlying health conditions or who are elderly are more susceptible to COVID-19. This puts an added burden on top of caregivers to be extra cautious with their surroundings during this time.

Even though restaurants, shopping malls and other businesses are opening up with social distancing requirements in place, caregivers and those who they take care of must still remain vigilant. 

Here are some ways caregivers may be impacted during the pandemic and tips to help ease the strain:

  • Mental Health and Stress: All that is transpiring in the world may be too overwhelming for the caregiver. If you are a caregiver, it is important for you to schedule some “me time” within your day or week. Do things like read a book, take a bath, go for a walk, or light a candle and just lay down and rest. Meditation, if even only for five-minutes a day has been proven to help reduce anxiety and stress. Through the end of 2020, Los Angeles County residents can download headspace, a wellness app for free.
  • Isolation: With the stay at home orders being lifted, caregivers still need to be cautious due to the high-risk group they are caring for. This may make the caregiver feel they cannot be around people and cause them to miss other human connections. Fortunately, technology is on their side. If you are a caregiver, make it a point to call family and friends to check in on them, or even schedule a virtual get together using a video app. This way you will get to see other smiling faces. Another tip is to go outside, even if it is in the backyard. The fresh air and Vitamin D from the sun will be refreshing.
  • Worry: The caregiver may worry about the person they are caring for. To lessen the worry, take extra precautions like disinfecting the home and utilizing frequent handwashing. This is effective in passing the spread of germs and can help provide peace of mind.
  • Sleep: You may be sleep deprived. To help combat this, try to get into bed early, turn off the television and any personal devices so you can really get a good night’s rest.

If you are not personally a caregiver, now may be a great time to do one of the following acts of kindness to help them out:

  • Drop off or have food delivered to them at home so they can take a break from cooking.
  • Send them a care package with self-care goodies such as a book, facial mask and a candle to help them relax and detach.
  • Give them a call and say hello.

 

“Caregivers, you are exposed to many physical and emotional stressors during this time but it is important that you take care of you or you will not be able to care for others,” said Colleen Dinunzio BSN RN PHN, PIH Health Home Healthcare & Hospice director of Patient Care Services.  “If you are having other concerns, it is always best to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician, specialist or therapist.”

For a list of Home Health services, visit PIHHealth.org/HomeHealth.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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