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Taking care of aging loved ones can be challenging enough on its own, but taking care of them during a global pandemic? The past few months have left many volunteer caregivers looking for answers.

Here are a few tips to help you safely take care of your loved ones in the age of COVID-19:

Stay Informed

Follow the most recently updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local public health organizations like Columbus Public Health.

Minimize Risk of Exposure

People over the age of 65 make up eight out of 10 COVID-19 deaths, so when caring for elderly loved ones it’s imperative that you take every precaution to keep yourself free from exposure. This can include limiting trips into the community, frequent handwashing, wearing masks, face coverings and gloves when necessary, and cleaning and disinfecting your home.

Manage Supplies

Acquire extra necessary medications and be sure to stock up on over-the-counter medications as well as common supplies like tissues and cough syrup. Keep your household well stocked with food to limit unnecessary trips to the grocery store. Monitor needed medical supplies related to your loved one’s condition or treatments.

Make Telehealth Appointments

If a wellness appointment for you or a loved one can be completed over the phone, telehealth appointments are your safest option. You can make telehealth appointments with LifeCare Alliance Wellness Center staff by calling 614-437-2878.

Report All COVID Symptoms

If you or your loved one are exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms, call your primary healthcare provider. If you don’t have a primary healthcare provider, call the Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline at 1-833-427-5634. In addition to other physical symptoms, people with dementia who contract COVID-19 can see increased confusion, increased agitation and sudden bouts of sadness.

Fight Boredom and Care for Yourself

Self-isolation can be a very difficult time for both you and the person you’re caring for. To fight boredom, try and schedule regular phone and video calls with other family members. Take breaks from reading, watching and listening to the news and make sure you each find time to do things you enjoy. You can also seek out a local caregiver support group like the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging to help you work through any feelings of stress or frustration.

Get Help if You Need It

If taking care of an aging or disabled loved one is too much at this time, LifeCare Alliance’s Help-at-Home program provides affordable, quality in-home care for people in Franklin and Madison counties. For more information call (614) 278-3130.