Those caring for vulnerable loved ones during Covid-19 may face some unique pressures, worries, and concerns. At the best of times, caregiving can be stressful. The additional challenges posed by Covid-19 can make you feel overwhelmed for many reasons such as:
Resources may be stretched even further by additional responsibilities related to Covid-19 such as homeschooling children
you may worry about contracting Covid-19 and passing it on to your vulnerable loved one or becoming unable to provide the care
you may struggle to communicate with your loved one about Covid-19 especially if they are dealing with dementia or a similar issue
social distancing may leave you less able to access supports that have helped you cope at a time you need them the most
your loved one might be highly anxious about their health which can increase your sense of helplessness
Tips for Ensuring Good Mental Health for Caregivers:
Seek information from trusted sources: There is a lot of information being shared. If watching, reading, or listening to the news is causing anxiety and distress, reduce your exposure and seek updates from trusted sources once or twice a day.
Share positive stories: maintain social connections with the use of technology and find places where you can connect with other caregivers online.
Ensure continuity of care: plan for situations in which you can no longer provide care into account the preferences of the person you're caring for. Having a plan may help relieve some of the stress.
Expand your circle of support and ask trusted members of your family or friends if they can step in to help if needed.
Document the types of care you provide i.e. medication, home health supplies, and non-perishables, etc. so someone can easily reference and provide the care needed.
Keep a list of all doctors and other healthcare providers in one place. Ensure any medical records, healthcare journey binders or other documentation is easily accessible so members of your circle of care/support know where to find them.
Keep a regular routine: As much as possible, keep a regular routine or help create new ones in a new environment, including regular exercising, cleaning, and virtual contact with family, friends, and community members. Develop strategies for adapting your routine during periods of physical distancing or self-isolation. There are many resources available online for shopping, communication, exercise, etc. to help adapt your routine. Keep regular contact with the person you care for, even if you can’t visit in person
Stay connected and maintain social networks: keep in regular contact with friends, family, and other people you trust and make time for yourself every day. Use technology to help you stay connected i.e. email, social media, video conference (Facetime, Skype, Zoom, etc.), and telephone.
Make your own self-care a priority: It is easier to take care of others when you feel well yourself.
Focus on activities that make you feel good.
use healthy boundaries hold realistic expectations and make your own self-care a priority eat well exercise regularly and get enough sleep
Try to spend at least a few minutes outside each day.
distract yourself regularly with a fun book, movie, hobby, or project, get creative, sing, cook, draw, write, dance, or play an instrument.
Experience your emotions, name them and notice what they feel like in your body except that they are normal and okay and so are you.
Seek for help if needed: reaching out for help is a sign of strength. due before you completely exhaust it. seek help with shopping or other tasks and consider meal delivery or other services. communicate your needs assertively and be specific. access all supports available in the community that you can such as home health care homemaking support or respite care
Understand your anger: Emotions like anger, resentment, and frustration are often caused by fear, helplessness, or sadness. The need to belong, feel safe, and be cared for is often behind these emotions. Knowing about these layers of emotions can help you cope and not take things personally.
Talk to a trusted family member, friend, or health care provider to express your feelings.
Try to express anger through artistic or physical activity.
It is helpful to create a list of triggers that cause the anger. Changes to your lifestyle, relationships, or daily routine can lessen triggers.
Helpful resources for caregivers.