I’ve written numerous times about distance caregiving, and one of the observations I have offered is that distance is not always measured in miles. But in the present COVID distancing, every caregiver to an older loved one finds themselves with the equivalent of a wall placed squarely between them and their loved one. And we should not really want it any other way, because we all have exposures to potential COVID carriers that we certainly would not want to share with our loved ones. But what can you do for your loved one and for you?
Here are some suggestions on caring for your older loved one and you for your consideration:
- Make copies of photos taken when you were with your older loved one and send them by mail so that they can rekindle the memories just as you will;
- Send a copy of a book that will bring back memories, maybe a travel book or a childhood book that was a favorite – or musical recordings;
- Find a local food delivery services that will bring your loved one’s favorite food to their door;
- Schedule a specific coffee time to “get together” with your loved one on ZOOM or Facetime;
- If they still live in their own home, find housekeeping or other services to give them a break or just some social stimulation;
- If you are concerned about their sticking to their medication schedule, there are apps for that, many of them free;
- If they live in a sequestered community environment, call staff at different times of day and times of the week to get confirmation on how your loved one is doing;
- And this is not last in order of importance, schedule some “me-time,” because social distancing is hard on the caregiver every bit as much as it is on the care receiver.
Charlotte Bishop is an Aging Life Care Advisor, Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago. She also is the co-author of How Do I Know You? A Caregiver’s Lifesaver for Dealing with Dementia.