A family caregiver already has a very difficult job. So much to do for your elderly loved one, especially for those with difficult chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. At the same time, you still have to handle all the other family and work responsibilities in your life. And you have to care for yourself, too.
Now pile on the Covid-19, the lifestyle changes it demands and the health risks it creates. So you add extra handwashing and disinfecting, face masks and social distancing to your care regimen.
Here’s one more thing to do. Plan a course of action if your loved one shows symptoms of the virus. Think about how you will quickly set up an area for quarantine so you and others do not get infected while still providing needed care. Also, know when you should contact medical professionals and be ready to support their efforts…just in case.
Symptoms & Warnings
It is believed initial symptoms of Covid-19 appear from 2-14 days after exposure. They include:
- Dry cough.
- Some people report a loss of smell or taste.
If you have these symptoms, contact your health professional for guidance. If you have any of these emergency warning signs, seek medical attention immediately.
- Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing.
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest.
- New confusion, versus typical confusion for those with cognitive impairment.
- Bluish lips or face.
This virus and its symptoms are not completely understood. So if any other symptoms arise that are severe or concerning, please consult your medical professional for advice.
Have A Care Plan
During the COVID-19 crisis, having a care plan is an important part of emergency preparedness.
A care plan is a document that sums up a person’s health conditions, lists current treatments and requirements, and contains key personal data. The plan should include information on:
- Health conditions.
- Current medications and therapies.
- Healthcare providers.
- Emergency contacts.
- Caregiver resources.
Having a care plan ready in a health emergency can save critical time while helping medical personnel to be aware of the patient’s needs and provide the best possible care.
To make the care plan process easier for you, the CDC offers a couple of forms in which all you have to do is fill in the blanks.
(Sources: CDC.gov, Administration for Community Living, MayoClinic.org)