How to support high-risk loved ones during the outbreak

 

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice is committed to helping keep all members of the communities we serve safe and healthy in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.

As the majority of our patients and wellness class participants are of the aging population, we take seriously our commitment to those who are most vulnerable.

We encourage everyone to engage in social distancing as recommended by the CDC. That means staying home unless absolutely necessary and avoiding close contact with anyone outside of your immediate family.

We know this is a time of uncertainty and stress for everyone, and can be particularly frightening for older people and their caregivers and other loved ones.

Here are a few suggestions for helping older relatives and friends through this time of necessary social distancing.

Set a daily Facetime date.

Social interaction is important. It helps us feel connected to those around us, which can lower stress and anxiety. Choose a time each day to speak on the phone with your elderly loved one. An even better option is to use your iPhone to Facetime or your desktop computer to Skype with the person so face-to-face discussions can be had.

Check on your elderly neighbors.

It’s important to make sure the people in our community are being taken care of during this tumultuous time. If you have an aging person in your neighborhood, stop by briefly to see if there is anything they need. Make sure to back up from the door after ringing the doorbell or knocking to allow a safe, 6-foot distance between you and them.

Leave a care package at their door.

Many older people are currently afraid to enter grocery stores or pharmacies to purchase essentials and food for fear of coming into contact with the virus. If you have items at home to spare or are young and healthy and able to pick up a few extra things during your own, necessary trip to the store, consider purchasing groceries for your loved one or neighbor or even just a few items to make them smile. Drop them off at their door with a note so no contact is needed.

Send them links to verified information.

Information – and therefore misinformation – is everywhere right now. Social media is a particular hotbed for articles concerning the pandemic, much of which contains facts that are not verified. Turn to sources like the CDC and share verified information from credible sources with the people you love so they can stay informed but also avoid panic.

Reach out for help.

If you are a caregiver struggling with the challenges of helping a newly homebound elderly loved one, call the VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice Helpline at 866.474.5230 to connect with our Caregiver Support Network for advice. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough or shortness of breath, contact your primary care physician immediately or call the Yale New Haven Health COVID-19 call center at 833-ASK-YNHH (833-275-9644.)